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fhe Creati\)eVtaman 


WINTER 1986 

Vol. 7, No. 4 Winter 1986 


Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466-3193 


ISSN 0736-4733 


Helen E. Hughes, Editor 

Joan Barchard Lewis, Contributing Editor 

John Ostenburg, Editorial Consultant 

Suzanne Oliver, Art Director 

Janet Green Editorial Assistant 

Leda Lance, Typesetter 


Donna Bandstra, Social Sciences, Chicago, Illinois 

Margaret Brady, Journalism, Palos Heights, Illinois 

Rev. Ellen Dohner Livingston, Religion, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Park Forest, Illinois 

Rita Durrant, League of American Penwomen, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 

Carol Houlihan Flynn, Literature, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 

Linda Grace-Kobas, Journalism, University of Buffalo, New York 

Harriet Gross, Sociology/ Woman's Studies, Governors State University, University Park, Illinois 

Helene Guttman, Biological Sciences, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland 

Young Kim, Communications Science, Governors State University, University Park, Illinois 

Betye Saar, Fine Arts, Hollywood, California 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania 

Emily Wasiolek, Literature, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, Illinois 


3 Introduction 

4 Chinese Women Artists: The Newest Flowers to Bloom in China's Liberalized Garden of Art 

by Dorothea Beard 
9 Creative Relating by Gong Shu 



Menopause and Women's Health by Nai Xin 
Solving Family Conflicts by Rao Fudi 
Women Overpass Designers by Su Bian 
Wan Shanshan: A Bridge Specialist by "Xiao Ming 
Popularizing Obstetrics in Minority Areas by Bian Xiulan 
Giving Hope to Cancer Patients by He Bi 

Zheng Xiaoying: China's Top Woman Conductor by Cheng Jingjing 
Thoughts on Painting by Zhao Xiaomo 
A Woman Photographer by Wang De 
An Expert Grass Grower by Xiao Ming 

35 Maranda's Life in Music by Kuosen Ho 

37 How I Became a Sports Medicine Scientist by Ji Di Chen 

39 Women in China: An Annotated and Selected Bibliography by Catherine Olson 

44 Book Review Two Women of China by Nieh Hauling - Carolyn Carmichael 

45 Editor's Column 

The Creative Woman is published three times a year by Gover- 
nors State University. We focus on a special topic in each issue, 
presented from a feminist perspective. We celebrate the creative 
achievements of women in many fields and appeal to inquiring 
minds. We publish fiction, poetry, book reviews, articles, 
photography and original graphics. 

Cover photograph of Zheng Xiaoying 



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In a season when Time names Deng Xiaoping Man of the Year, 
one can hardly open a magazine or newspaper without reading 
some new views on the changes going on in China today as that 
ancient nation of more than a billion human beings hurries 
toward the "four modernizations." 

We think our readers are in for a treat they won't easily find 
elsewhere. By special arrangement between The Creative Woman 
and Women of China we present a special section profiling the 
lives of ten modern professional Chinese women. Here you will 
read their own stories written in their own words, edited by the 
Editorial Board of Women of China, an English language monthly 
periodical published in Beijing. These profiles help the perceptive 
reader to better understand the achievements of Chinese women, 
their difficulties, and unresolved problems. The liberation of 
women in China, as elsewhere in the world, is far from com- 
plete. This section constitutes the central half of this issue and 
can be found on pages 15 through 34. 

Dorothea Beard, professor of art history at Western Illinois 
University, recently visited China and here reports on her par- 
ticular interest, post-Mao women painters. Gong Shu, painter, 
art therapist and student of psychology, literature and oriental 
philosophy, gives us her insights into "creative relating," in- 
tegrating Western and Eastern concepts. Dr. Ho, control 
engineering department chair at Shanghai University of 
Technology, has given us his appreciative recital of his wife's 
achievements in music and Dr. Chen, researcher in Nutrition 
and Biochemistry at Beijing Medical University, has described 
how she developed her specialty in sports medicine. An an- 
notated bibliography by Catherine Olson and another of 
Carolyn Carmichael's penetrating book reviews complete this 
special issue on Women of China. 

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by Dorathea Beard 

An exhibition entitled "Contemporary Chinese 
Painting: An Exhibition from the People's 
Republic of China" (organized by Lucy Lim, ex- 
ecutive director and curator of the Chinese 
Cultural Center of San Francisco), which has 
been touring the United States since 1983, pro- 
vides Americans with an unprecedented oppor- 
tunity to assess the results of lifting the restraints 
that weighed so heavily on Chinese artists and 
intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution 
(1966-1976). ' Now, as the artists themselves 
delight in informing us, there is encouragement 
to "let a hundred different flowers bloom." 2 
That there is indeed a new flowering of creative 
achievement in the wake of the cessation of ar- 
tistic repression is especially evident in the work 
of the women artists included in this exhibition 
of paintings done in the traditional techniques 
of ink and color on paper. 3 

When referring to the men, one speaks of a 
cultural renaissance; for the women, it is more of 
a birth than a rebirth. Of course Chinese 
women, like women everywhere, have always 
created. But what did they create? What was 
their status? Tseng Yu-Ho Ecke, herself a strong 
painter of traditional brush and ink Chinese 
landscapes, says in her catalogue of Chinese Folk 
Art in American Collections that, until recently, 
even women in wealthy urban homes were 
automatically taught all the varied skills con- 
nected with fabric, 4 and one is justified in 
assuming that much of the strong folk craft 
tradition depended on women. Some of the 
most attractive examples in the folk art 
catalogue are the colorful, often whimsical 
padded applique objects designed for young 
children, such as bibs, animal-face slippers, and 
tiger caps. Now that Chinese peasants have been 
given official blessing to descend on tourists like 
a horde of locusts with their homemade wares, 
such crafts are experiencing a great revival, and 
none more so than the applique work, which 
can be produced frugally from scraps of cotton. 
While they may not be as well made as formerly, 
these pieces are as bright and whimsical as ever 
and offer some scope for individuality. Many of 
today's pieces also are made for children (slippers 
with embroidered animal faces, padded sleeveless 

vests, a cylindrical pillow with cats' heads at 
each end), but these enterprising women likewise 
have begun to produce tote bags in a big way, 
and no two of the dozens brought to my atten- 
tion this past summer were exactly alike. 

Sadly, the craft "factories" did not reveal the 
same vitality. Sexless they certainly were, with 
both men and women sharing the same tasks, 
but both techniques and designs seemed strictly 
conventional, with little possibility of individual 
initiative. Attached to these official craft studios, 
or to tourist hotels, one often finds so-called art 
galleries, but they were extremely disappointing. 
At none of them did I see work approaching the 
caliber of the paintings touring the United 
States. Most often, the paintings were merely 
repetitions of familiar styles and motifs, if not 
outright copies of famous works. (One should 
bear in mind that the idea of copying the 
masters is quite different in China than in the 
West. Far from considering this plagiarism, or 
the production of "fakes", the Chinese tradition 
of copying masterpieces is seen as a valid 
discipline and the height of respect and honor to 
the greats of the past.) At one hotel shop, where 
I saw displayed a view of local scenery that seem- 
ed different, further exploration revealed a whole 
stack of identical paintings (for the Chinese, 
they would still qualify as "original" because 
they were all painted by hand). For the traveller 
with the time to visit the once-more-flourishing 
art academies in the major cities, the situation, 
of course, would be different; but those are not 
included in regular tourist itineraries, and the 
frenetic pace of most China tours precludes seek- 
ing them out. 

Therefore, we in the West may be all the more 
grateful for the sustained high level of quality in 
the current exhibition. This is not the first time 
that contemporary Chinese paintings have been 
exhibited in the West, but previous shows were 
often poorly received, due to the low or else 
uneven quality of the work — no doubt because 
the government made the selection. In this case, 
Lim made the selection, with the advice of two 
other Americans, the eminent scholars James 
Cahill and Michael Sullivan, and the en- 
thusiastic cooperation of the Chinese artists 
themselves. 5 

This exhibition also provides the best evidence I 
have seen that the campaign to raise the status 
of women, so that they will indeed, in Mao's 
often repeated phrase, "hold up half the sky," is 
showing significant progress. One might assume 
that the presence of seven women painters in 


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Chen Peiqiu (1922- ), Shanghai woman artist. 

"Purple Fungus", undated. 

Fan painting, Chinese ink and color on paper. 

25 x 53.5 cm. (9 3 /t x 21 inches) 

the show is entirely due to Lim, but that is not 
strictly true, since several of them were brought 
to her attention by Cahill and Sullivan. And 
only Cahill's essay for the catalogue, of all the 
books and articles I have consulted, discusses 
their achievements specifically as pertaining to 
women. 6 In many books, in fact, women artists 
are not even specifically identified as women. 
Given Western unfamiliarity with Chinese 
names, one discovers the artist's sex only when 
the author happens to refer to "her" work. I 
doubt, however, that this treatment indicates 
that all gender bias has been eradicated, though 
one must glean hints of this from isolated 
statements. 7 One example would be the state- 
ment of a woman named Li Feng-Ian, one of the 
famous peasant painters from Shansi province: 

"It was no easy matter for a woman like me 
to take up creative art. I worked in the 
fields most of the year and had family 
duties at home. I could only paint in the 
little time I had for rest. Moreover, some 
conservative people looked askance at a 
village woman painting and made cold, sar- 
castic remarks. 


Another, at the opposite end of the spectrum, 
would be the statement Ling Shu-Hua, who 
must be ranked with the elite, scholar-artist 
literati class, made to Chu-Tsing Li. Ling told 
him she had studied with a woman artist in Beij- 
ing named Ho Shu-yu, who "was quite proficient 
in her skill and technique, but she did not 
receive much recognition." 9 

On the other hand, Li mentions that Tseng Yu- 
Ho, who now lives in Honolulu, had "enjoyed 
fame in Peking as an outstanding young woman 
painter in the strict traditional style," while still 

in her teens. 10 And the fact that several of the 
women in the current exhibition (Xiao Shufang, 
born in 1911; Zhu, born in 1920; and Chen Pei- 
qiu, born in 1922), as well as several women 
who have pursued careers abroad, received their 
artistic training in China before the People's 
Republic was established in 1949 shows that op- 
portunities for women artists began under the 
aegis of the Republic of China (1911-1949) and 
probably owed most to the establ ; shment of art 
academies in China, which almost literally coin- 
cided with the establishment of the Republic. 

This group of older women tends to be rather 
conservative, in my estimation. All three are 
"flower and bird" painters, though Chen Peiqiu 
is also represented by a landscape painting. 
Perhaps this can be seen as a legacy of the old 
attitude, since, as Cahill says: 

Works by women artists in traditional 
China tended to treat properly "feminine" 
subjects such as birds and flowers, or or- 
chids; they conformed to what was ex- 
pected more than they expressed deep feel- 
ings. The reason, one hastens to add, was 
social pressure: any attempt to break the 
confines of "polite" women's art would 
have been snuffed out quickly, and it 
doubtless was, many times. 11 

But many of the men in the show paint flowers 
too, sometimes also with great delicacy, and 
Xiao Zhufang's Everlasting Spring (Amaryllises) 
has a simple strength and boldness, in both 
stroke and color (black and bright red), not 
unlike that of the great German expressionist 
Emil Nolde. 

Indeed, in the context of Chinese painting, what 
do the words "traditional," "conservative," 

"derivative," or for that matter "innovative," 
"original," "individual," "experimental" really 
mean? Westerners discussing Chinese painting 
tend to get tangled up in the nuances of such 
terms because, for the Chinese, none of them 
has quite the same meaning one assigns to it in 
the Western tradition. There is, I think, a 
paradox at the heart of Chinese painting; self- 
expression versus tradition and authority, each 
serving as a great ideal in classic Chinese pain- 
ting. Lucy Lim presents the subjective, in- 
dividualistic side very well when she says that 
the "literati" aesthetic theory stated that 
painting should not simply be a recording 
of observed nature and visual truthfulness, 
but should, instead, express the artist's in- 
ner personality. It should capture the spirit 
or essence of the things depicted, which 
could be achieved through the calligraphic 
potential of the Chinese brush. Painting 
became a highly personal creative act 
whose sole function was self-expression. 12 
And yet artists of later generations could — were 
even encouraged to — transcribe (we would be 
likely to say copy) these personal expressions, 
and their work would still be considered 

If the older women in the exhibition, and 
several of the men as well, bring this paradox 
forcibly to mind, the most striking thing about 
the four younger women (Yang Yanping, born 
in 1934; Zhai Xiuhuan, born in 1946; Nie Ou, 
born in 1948; and Shao Fei, born in 1954) is 
that they do not. Each of these women has a 
style which could not possibly be confused with 
any other's; each shows an awareness of the 
lessons of Western art without sacrificing her 
"Chineseness." These paintings are not un- 
digested bits borrowed from badly-understood 
Western painters, as is so often the case with 
Eastern artists who try to "modernize" their art 

Zhao Xiuhuan paints flowers, but her Mountain 
Stream, dated 1982, bears little resemblance to 
the flower painting tradition of the past. Her 
precisely-delineated wildflowers by the stream 
suggest, rather, an affinity with Andrew 
Wyeth. 13 One might also note, as the other 
polarity of this typically Chinese paradoxical 
equation, that the other modern American artist 
who has been of interest to Chinese art students 
of today is Jackson Pollock, with his freely-linear 
abstract-expressionist drawings and drip pain- 
tings, 14 while the large scale of Zhao's plants 
(they fill most of the space of the vertical scroll, 
which is over fifty-two inches tall) calls to mind 
Georgia O'Keeffe's giant flower "blow-ups." 

Two of these innovative younger women artists, 
Nie Ou and Shao Fei, are concerned with figural 

Xiao Shufang (191 1- ), Beijing woman artist. 

"Everlasting Spring" (Amaryllises), undated. 

Title inscribed by Wu Zuoren (artist's husband) in seal script. 

Chinese ink and color on paper. 

78 x 48.5 cm. (30% x 19 inches) 

painting (whereas only six of the twenty-nine 
men are). Along with the newly-elevated status 
of meticulously-observed reality, this focus may 
stem in part from an attempt to salvage 
something of value from the wasteland of the 
Cultural Revolution era, when Jiang Qing (Mme 
Mao), the leader of the now-infamous "Gang of 
Four," defined the goals of Chinese painting in a 
more unequivocal and uncompromising form 
than had even been the case when Soviet-style 
socialist realism was being touted as the great 
model in the 1950s: 

"We, too, should create what is new and 
original, new in the sense that it is socialist 
and original in the sense that it is pro- 
letarian." 15 
Jiang, unlike Mao himself, who maintained that 
socialist painting must raise its artistic as well as 
social standards in order to be effective, was in- 

terested only in the political message a painting 
should convey. 

It was in these years that traditional techniques 
and traditional themes — especially the types of 
meditative, poetic landscapes favored for cen- 
turies by the artist-scholar elite — came into 
total disfavor, though their elitist aspects had 
been attacked earlier. For example, Wang Chao- 
wen lauded a folk art exhibit in 1958, in spite of 
technical deficiencies, saying: 

"This is lyricism unattainable by those pro- 
fessional painters who think that exercises 
in sketching can be considered works of 

art." 16 
Reports about the Cultural Revolution's harass- 
ment and repression that have surfaced since 
1976 tell of a "reign of terror" in which some ar- 
tists were literally hounded to death, many were 
blacklisted and forbidden to exhibit, sometimes 
even to paint, and, in a further echo of Nazi 
Germany, Jiang even had the works of these 
"counter-revolutionary," "revisionist" artists held 
up to ridicule in two exhibitions of "Black Pain- 
tings" in 1974. 17 Landscape paintings received 
the most stringent criticism of all. In 1978, Li 
Hsiung-ts'ai said: 

"The gang of four forbade us to do land- 
scapes, saying that they had no revolu- 
tionary significance or were even dangerous 
'soft daggers.' The gang did things like rul- 
ing rocks out of our paintings and pro- 
hibiting the use of black ink." 18 

The poster-style realist paintings Jiang favored 
now linger mainly on advertising billboards, 
which is appropriate, since their propaganda 
slogans had much in common with American 
hard-sell advertising, a fact that has become in- 
creasingly apparent since Chinese billboards 
began to shift from moralizing slogans to 
product-selling slogans. 

Little remains of that crude, blatant style in 
either Nie Ou or Shao Fei, if indeed any trace 
ever existed. Nie Ou's large (almost sixty-five in- 
ches tall) multi-figured drawing Dew, dated 1981, 
done in black and grey ink, with flesh-toned 
areas in the figures as the only contrast, does 
present us with a new-era theme: young people 
bringing lunch to workers in the fields, and 
these young people are drawn with considerable 
charm as well as freshness, but they are 
beautifully set off — compositionally as well as 
psychologically — against the older laborers, 
evocative of the back-breaking toil of tilling the 
soil. Shao Fei's even larger 1981 painting (over 
sixty-eight inches tall) is titled Last Song of the 
Grand Historian; the single, powerfully evocative 
figure it contains was, to me, the most 
monumental work in the exhibition. With its 

heavy lines, yet vagueness of form, the painting 
has something of the bold expressionism, the 
haunting power, of Kathe Kollwitz' images of 
grieving mothers. Assuredly there is nothing 
"feminine," "overly-refined," or too "elegant" in 
this image. Though the theme evokes great im- 
ages from China's history, the style shows a 
perfectly-assimilated knowledge of Western art, 
which is perfectly at home with the calligraphy 
of the East. 

Fewer of the women painters in this exhibition 
are represented by landscapes than is the case 
with the men (two women to nineteen men); 
however, this ratio may have less significance 
than first appears, since the four women ex- 
patriate painters presented by Li in his catalogue 
of the Drenowatz collection all paint landscapes. 
But Yang Yanping's Towering Mountain is easily 
the most abstract work in the show. The techni- 
que might seem conventional enough when one 
describes it: fine, delicate ink lines, with small 
splatters in places, akin to some of the lines of 
the great seventeenth-century painter Shitao; 
broad grey washes, faint traces of delicate blue 
and pink color. Yet how different it is, never- 
theless. Shitao's rocks seem tortuous and busy, 
next to Yang's boldly-simplified form, where 
everything is reduced to its essence, where all 
details are expunged, except for a few fine lines, 
which stand out all the more effectively as a 
result. 19 

These four younger women are among those ar- 
tists Cahill finds most innovative, and he — 
rightly, I think — considers it significant that it 
is women who are making such breakthroughs. 20 
Perhaps, indeed, these women are more easily 
able to be individually creative because they 
have not quite the same weight of tradition 
behind them that the men do. While it is possi- 
ble to make a direct correlation between age and 
innovation with the women, I did not find the 
same correlation between birth dates and degree 
of innovativeness or ability to build on the 
Chinese tradition among the men. In their case, 
several of the most powerful and individual were 
older artists; yet some of the older men were also 
the most conservative and derivative. Indeed, 
whereas the women painters I most admired 
were all born after 1930, the men whose pain- 
tings struck me most forcibly were all born 
before 1930. Of course this is a purely personal 
reaction, the determinant criteria not being 
specific styles but individuality and power of ex- 
pression. Many of the paintings I responded to 
could be described as traditional, but none, I 
think, as merely derivative — whether of 
Chinese or of Western sources. This is the reac- 
tion of someone closely involved in art and art 
history, but not steeped in the Chinese tradi- 

tion, either the artistic or the scholarly tradition, 
though it is possible that this very non- 
involvement may stimulate a more clear-eyed ap- 
proach. In Chinese art today it is not so much a 
question of tradition versus revolution (after all, 
the socialist-realist art of the Revolution seems 
quite reactionary to Western eyes), but of tradi- 
tion versus evolution, and it is the women who 
seem to reveal what that tradition is evolving 
towards most clearly. 

Dorathea K. Beard is a professor of art history at 
Northern Illinois University. 


1 . In cooperation with the Chinese Artists' 
Association of the People's Republic of China. 
The last stop of the exhibition is the University 
of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, where it will close 
on December 1, 1985. 

2 . Though this is the favorite current slogan, it is 
not really new. Arnold Chang, in Painting in the 
People's Republic of China: The Politics of Style 
(Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1980), p. 
11, says that the "Hundred Flowers" movement 
was a Party rectification campaign "which called 
for open discussion and debate" in 1956. But 
from 1957 on it was generally eclipsed in favor 
of propagandistic aims and poster-realist styles. 

3 . Of the sixty-six paintings by thirty-six artists 
included in the show, ten paintings were pro- 
duced by seven women artists. 

4 . (Honolulu: U. of Hawaii Press, 1977), p. 24. 

5 . Cahill and Sullivan also contributed essays to 
the catalogue. Several of the women represented 
in this show took part in an exhibition of the 
Beijing painting Academy in Canada in 1981, 
but it appears to have gone totally unremarked 
by the art periodicals which regularly review cur- 
rent exhibitions (such as Art News and Art Inter- 

6 . Cahill, p. 26. Sullivan's pioneering 1959 book, 
Chinese Art in the Twentieth Century (Berkeley: 
U. of California Press), p. 85, lists a Chinese 
Women's Art Association as having been found- 
ed in Shanghai in 1934, but he apparently deem- 
ed it, and the women artists who founded it, not 
important enough to discuss. 

7 . Incidentally, of four recent sociological studies 
on women in modern China, none appeared to 
consider painting at all, though one mentioned 

8 . As quoted in the catalogue of the Arts Coun- 
cil of Great Britain's 1976 exhibition, Peasant 
Paintings from Hu County, Shensi Province, China, 
p. 11. 

9 . Chu-Tsing Li, Trends in Modem Chinese Pain- 
ting (The C.A. Drenowatz Collection) Ascona, 
Switzerland: Artibus Asiae, 1979), p. 26. Ling 
Shu-Hua, born in 1908, was known almost more 
for her literature than her painting, before she 
left China. 

10 . Li, p. 171. Tseng was born in 1923. 
n . Cahill, p. 26. 

12 . Lim, p. 19. 

13 . For example, Wyeth's Spring Beauty, dated 
1943, which is in the University of Nebraska 
Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska. Currently, we 
are told, Wyeth is very much admired by the 
younger Chinese artists, for whom meticulously 
observed realism is something to be esteemed as 
high art for the first time since the Emperor Hui 
Tsung painted birds and branches with almost 
scientific accuracy in the early twelfth century. 

H . An example might be the 1944 untitled draw- 
ing acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago in 

1966, which was recently on view as part of the 
exhibition "Great Drawings from the Art In- 
stitute of Chicago." 

15 . "Summary of the Forum on the Work in 
Literature and Art in the Armed Forces with 
which Comrade Lin Piao Entrusted Comrade 
Chiang Ch'ing," Peking Review, no. 23, June 2, 

1967, p. 13, quoted in Chang, p. 23. Chang's is 
the best account I have found of this complex 

16 . "Wall Paintings by Peasant Artists," Chinese 
Literature, 1, 1959, pp. 197-8, quoted in Chang, 
p. 41. 

17 . See Chang, p. 46; Sullivan, Contemporary 
Chinese Painting, p. 29. 

18 . "NPC-Inspired Writers, Artists Plan Many 
New Works," Daily Report, March 10, 1978, p. E 
8, quoted in Chang, pp. 46-7. 

19 . For example, see Plate XLII, Wandering 
Around Mt. Huayang, in the exhibition catalogue, 
Treasures from the Shanghai Museum, 6000 Years 
of Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum of San Fran- 
cisco, 1983. 

20 . Cahill, p. 26. 



by Gong Shu 

Creativity is a spontaneous expression of the 
vitality of life. It is marked by innocence, 
freshness, uniqueness, unadorned devotion, 
and full concentration of the self in the pro- 
cess. It is an assertion of one's being in the 
world — like grass sprouting on the ground, a 
fawn leaping in the wood, a dolphin frolicking 
in the ocean, or a child rolling on a sandy 
beach. It is marked by excitement, authentici- 
ty, joy, and total involvement of the self — in 
the world, not in detachment or alienation. 

One day, some time ago, I left my youngest 
daughter, Meiling, at her kindergarten. As I 
was walking away I saw Chris, a boy her age, 
run toward her. The two of them embraced 
and then held hands and walked to a sand- 
box to play. Such spontaneity, such total in- 
volvement of the self in the immediate situa- 
tion, such innocence, freshness, and excite- 
ment is what I mean by creativity. There is a 
genuine meeting of the essential selves, 
without masks, without calculation. This is 
creative relating. Children know it well. 

Creative Process 

In discussing creativity, I am confining myself 
to the process. The creative process is relating. 
One does not create in a vacuum, whether 
this process involves art materials, music, 
science, or another person. Creativity is 
relating and it is also a way of living. Creative 
relating is characterized by openness — open- 
ness to the always new, always changing en- 
vironment or to the other. It involves 
mutuality — the self provides an environment 
for the other, in which the potentials of the 
other can be realized. This in turn enhances 
and actualizes the potentialities of the self. All 
genuine creative growth involves a spon- 
taneous interplay of complementary forces 
and a production of something new, a syn- 
thesizing or harmonizing of previously distinct 
components. It also means acceptance and af- 
firmation of the always new, unique moment 
and phenomenon. 

Ideas such as these are found in many 
religious as well as many humanistic 
thinkers — in Erich Fromm, Carl Jung, 
Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Martin 
Buber, Gabriel Marcel, Paul Tillich, Rollo 
May, and others. They are also found in an- 
cient Taoism, which is my own native 
philosophy. I would like to share with you a 

brief account of how Taoism sees creative 

Let me start with a statement from a Taoist 
philosopher, Lao Tzu, regarding creativity: 

All things originate in Tao. 
They are nurtured by Te, 
Becoming things, they gain forms 
Through their innate tendencies [Shih] 
they become complete. 

All things originate in Tao 
By Te they are nourished, 
Guided, cared for, 
Sheltered, comforted, 
Developed, and protected. 
Creating without taking credit, 
Nourishing without interfering. 
This is the nature of Te.j 

Here Tao simply means the way— the way life 
is, the way things are. Tao is the spontaneous 
expression of life itself. Thus, Tao finds ex- 
pression in everything. Te means potentials, 
the creative energy within each of us. Lao 
Tzu's statement about Te implies that every 
organism has an innate potential and an in- 
nate tendency to sustain, enhance, and com- 
plete itself. An organism inherently functions 
to find harmonious relationships with its en- 
vironment that suit its needs, potentials, and 
resources. The innate tendency works through 
the receptivity and responding behavior of the 
organism within its environment. Through 
this living process the organism will actualize 
its potentials as best it can. This is the 
organism's spontaneous, natural growth pro- 
cess. Lao Tzu expressed this insight in chapter 
twenty-five of Tao Te Ching: 

Man's standard is Earth. 
Earth's standard is Heaven. 
Heaven's standard is Tao. 
Tao's standard is the spontaneous. 2 

Separation and Differentiation 

To be creative, then, is to follow one's spon- 
taneous growth process. This process of 
growth is expressed in the interaction of op- 
posites, the yin and the yang. Yin and yang 
refer to the play of opposites, each of which 
influences the other. This mutuality is in- 
terdependence: the opposites mutually depend 
on each other to be what they are. Even 
more, they are present to some degree in each 
other. This is the basis of what Taoists call in- 
terpenetration and the great sympathy. This is 
the Taoist way of pointing out our capacity to 
be deeply touched by and in tune with, say, 
suffering people across the world, with sur- 

prises of nature, or with each other when we 
first meet. 

This play of opposites and interdependence 
can be observed in nearly every organism. It 
is seen as sexual in nature, in the sense that 
life works through pairs of opposites which 
unite together to foster new life and growth. 
In sexual opposites some degree of each op- 
posite is concealed in the other— some degree 
of feminine in the masculine, or the masculine 
in the feminine. Jung recognized this, as does 
Taoism and the philosophy of yin-yang polari- 
ty; this sharing is the basis of organic growth 
and creativity, and thus of human creativity 
as well. Opposites seek each other out in a 
relating of love. Love, the urge for unity, is 
the generative center of creativity and rela- 
tionship. Interestingly, this profound thought 
is also expressed by Socrates in his speech on 
love, in Plato's Symposium. 

This creative urge for relating and for unity is 
the source of all energies of life. Dylan 
Thomas speaks of the creative urge in this 

The force that through the green fuse 

drives the flower 
Drives my green age;. . . 
The force that drives the water 

through the rocks 
Drives my red blood. 3 

Separation and differentiation are also in- 
evitable stages of the creative process. 

Encounter and Relationship 

From separation and differentiation one 
moves to encounter and relationship. It is 
Eros, the yearning for union, that urges one 
to reach out, to create. This desire for 
reaching out can be transmuted into a univer- 
sal love, agape, which enables us to unite and 
reach harmony with all of life. Creativity re- 
quires one to accept change and separation. 
Creativity requires one to let go; a child must 
let go of the mother, a mother must let go of 
the child. This detachment requires each to 
have the courage to flow with the moment 
and accept change and difference, to accept 
each moment as a unique phenomenon. 
Creative relating is a process of in- 
terdependence within which each person must 
accept himself or herself as a unique being. 

Harmony is created out of diversity, not out 
of identity. In the creative process of relating 
one loses the self in the unity; one is changed, 
yet remains completely in touch with the self 
as an individual. One needs to be completely 
aware of the uniqueness of the individual and 
have the courage to be fully present as the 

real self even in time of stress and doubt, for 
creativity is the dynamic interplay of opposite 

To be fully creative is to be fully present, to 
be fully involved in the moment. Creativity is 
a person's total involvement in an expression 
of his or her being. It is like the dancer who 
creates the phenomenon of dance. The dance 
exists only insofar as the dancer is in the pro- 
cess of creating it. The poet W.B. Yeats said it 
this way: 

O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer, 

Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? 

O body swayed to music, O brightening 


How can we know the dancer from the 

dance? 4 

The dancer and the dance are one. 

The dancer is concentrating on the process of 
dancing and is fully aware of the total 
phenomenon of dance. But if the dancer 
becomes conscious of herself as making the 
dance, the dance breaks. If she is conscious of 
her balance, she loses it. The student driver 
who is learning to drive a stick-shift car is a 
similar example; the minute he tries to 
memorize the gear -shifting process, the car 
stalls. If a chef is worried about her sick hus- 
band at home, she burns the food. 

Genuine creativity, then, requires full concen- 
tration and full awareness — there is no divi- 
sion between the creator and the created. Ge- 
nuine creativity is a total immersion of the 
self in the process. 

As Yeats' words express, the creative person is 
in intimate touch with the creative process, so 
intimate that the dancer and the dance are 
indistinguishable. The Zen teacher D.T. 
Suzuki said regarding this state of creativity, 
"When a man reaches this stage of 'spiritual' 
development, he is a Zen artist of life. He 
does not. need, like the painter, a canvas, 
brushes, and paints. . . His hands and feet are 
the brushes and the whole universe is the 
canvas on which he depicts his life. . . This 
picture is history. " 5 

Artist of Life 

What does all this mean for relationships? In 
creating dance, the dancer becomes one with 
the dance. In living creatively, the individual 
is an artist of life— the person, the process, 
and the work of art are one. Creativity is 
spontaneous, total absorption and involve- 
ment in whatever is present. In creative 
relating, the individuals are fully involved, ful- 
ly present, and aware of their full being, their 
mutuality. The person and the process are 


one. When this happens, an hour, two hours, 
a day spent with another or others is ex- 
hilarating. Remember how one's spirit can be 
lifted and energized by an affirming glance 
from a total stranger in a subway crowd? In 
this fleeting moment one experiences the 
other's unbroken spontaneous presence and 

In the creative process of relating, a person is 
fully immersed in an experience to the extent 
that he or she is lost as a separate being, yet 
remains uniquely free as an individual. The 
person experiences for the first time with full 
awareness the unique reality of the moment. 

This ideal relationship with the world is "pure 
experience." To be in "pure experience" re- 
quires one to see the world without "desire," 
without expectation, without attachment, 
without addictions. All of life is nurtured by 
universal forces which bring out the potential 
of each organism. The Taoist calls this the in- 
finite ground of sympathy. Intimacy grows out 
of the self s genuine relatedness with the 
world and with others — the total immersion of 
the self in the experience. This immersion 
gives meaning to life. Intimacy is full 
relatedness— the feeling of connection and the 
feeling of being in touch. This genuine 
relatedness is what I call creative relating. 

However, given the social and economic con- 
ditions of today, this creative relating is dif- 
ficult to achieve. The daily news is filled with 
sad and terrible events. We need constant 
renewal in the face of so many forces that 
threaten our creative relating. 

Obstacles to Creative Relating 

Let me point out now some of the obstacles 
to creative relating and give some examples. 
Let us also remember that these obstacles in 
our experience are the artist's materials we are 
challenged to transform into creative relating. 

This time is very challenging. The current 
culture reveals a highly developed "left-brain" 
orientation. It values linear, verbal, and 
analytical thinking, and leaves little room for, 
or sensitivity to, "right-brain" activity, that is, 
intuitive awareness which sees the gestalt, the 
whole configuration. Right-brain activity can 
be cultivated only through sensory and in- 
tuitive awareness. Recognizing this state of af- 
fairs, we must allow intuition to guide us and 
allow our senses to experience the world in 
order to absorb and participate in its richness. 

In this highly developed technocratic or "left- 
brain" society, intellect and even so-called 
spiritual growth have outstripped emotional 
development. Bodily functions of sensing, feel- 

ing, tasting, even seeing or hearing, are at 
times inhibited or repressed by the intellect. 
A person eventually becomes a total thinking 
being, a functionary, devoid of feeling and of 
full spontaneous, intuitive awareness of what 
he or she is experiencing. The consequence of 
such repression of emotional experience is 
"meaninglessness," "emptiness." The joy of life 
is missing. 

Many writers have expressed concern about 
how our way of life constricts our experience. 
Fromm noted the way in which everyone is 
conscious of using everyone else. 6 People 
become commodities. Recently, just as the 
professional football strike was starting, the 
owner of one of the teams was giving the 
players a pep talk about how great and impor- 
tant all of them were. Then he made a slip. 
He said, enthusiastically, "You are our com- 
modities." One player asked another, "What 
is a commodity?" Then he understood what 
he meant to the owner: he was a thing to be 
bought, sold, and controlled, an object of in- 
vestment and exploitation. 

Marcel, too, distinguishes between being and 
having. 7 Being is who a person is, his or her 
real self, living in a world of persons and 
creativity. Having is related to functions; a 
function, or we may say, a role, is something 
one has, not something one is at bottom. The 
function lives in a world of things. 

Buddhism also distinguishes between being 
and being this or that. We run serious risks of 
identifying ourselves simply with being this or 
that— a function, a role, an identity. In doing 
so, we lose our creative selves and freedom, 
and reduce ourselves to the limitations impos- 
ed by social roles. 

Consider how such a reduction of ourselves 
hinders creative relating. Our relationships, 
whether with people, nature, or things, can be 
blocked by various fixations, or attachments, 
whether these attachments are to past, to 
future, to a person, to an idea, or to values 
set up by others. Separation of the self and 
the experience will result if our minds are 
bound by such fixations. 

If we rely on past experience, we are dealing 
with a concept of the situation itself. We lack 
awareness of the actual present circumstances. 
Similarly, when we obsessively anticipate and 
prepare for the future, we are less aware than 
we need to be of what is going on at the pre- 
sent. Attachments to the past or to the future 
deter us from immediate contact with the pre- 
sent, its "hereness" and "nowness." We 
become outsiders in regard to what is im- 
mediately present to us. Our energy is locked 


up in various other temporal/spatial dimen- 
sions to a degree that we are not able to par- 
ticipate or function fully in the present. We 
lose awareness of our own immediate needs. 
By doing this we become alienated from the 
real self, as Karen Horney calls it. We become 
outsiders to our own experience, detached 
and disengaged from our actual awareness of 
the present. In this state of alienation and 
disengagement intimacy is impossible. 

We may also become fixated on values set up 
by the environment — the "shoulds" and 
"should nots," the standards of others. We 
become very watchful and judgmental of our 
own behavior. We use the values of others to 
modify our natural responses, in order to win 
their approval. I myself often feel this kind of 
conflict when I am asked to do paintings for 
commission, in contrast to how I feel when I 
paint spontaneously, for myself. The judgmen- 
tal attitude always separates the self from the 
act. It causes a conflict between the real self 
and the image of the self. In this experience 
the "I" is constantly examining something in 
order to change it, so there is always a 
dualistic conflict and therefore a protracted 
separation. As Horney says: 

As soon as . . . [the individual who needs] 
to be liked by everybody becomes com- 
pulsive, the genuineness of his feeling 
diminishes. . . [and] his spontaneous in- 
terest in work itself decreases. Conflicting 
compulsive drives. . . impair his integra- 
tion, his faculty to decide and give direc- 
tion. . . neurotic pseudo-solutions though 
representing attempts at integration, . . . 
deprive him of autonomy because they 
become a compulsive way of living. 8 

This compulsiveness involves repetition of ex- 
pectations, and can lead to self- torture. For 
example, a client of r^'ne was so obsessed 
with the fear of rejection, and fear of not be- 
ing liked, that she withdrew from involvement 
in group art therapy. She usually sat in a cor- 
ner, feeling angry at herself and the therapist, 
because, as she said, "I don't know how to 
draw. No matter what I do, it will be wrong. I 
can't please you." Today, following her 
therapy, this person is back in her communi- 
ty, able to relate more creatively and self- con- 

If we single out some dimensions or parts of 
ourselves either to avoid or pursue obsessively, 
we create energy problems. Our energy 
becomes locked in self-condemnation, fear, 
and compulsive striving. Experiencing only 
parts of ourselves makes us see ourselves in 
piecemeal ways, as if we were merely the sum 

total of disconnected parts. "This is known in 
psychiatric literature as compartmentalization 
or psychic fragmentation. . . . [the person] has 
no feeling for himself as a whole organism." 9 

When certain emotions are suppressed or con- 
centrated on exclusively and compulsively, 
natural relationships are inhibited or curtail- 
ed. Rogers contrasts the closed and the open 
state in these terms: 

To the extent that the individual is deny- 
ing to awareness (or repressing, if you 
prefer that term) large areas of his ex- 
perience, then his creative formings may 
be pathological or socially evil, or both. 
To the degree that the individual is open 
to all aspects of his experience, and has 
available to his awareness all the varied 
sensings and perceivings which are going 
on within his organism then the novel 
products of his interaction with his en- 
vironment will tend to be constructive 
both for himself and other. 10 

There are serious consequences when full 
awareness of ourselves and the other is block- 
ed. Full awareness requires great continuous 
energy, for it is easy to slip out of such con- 
centrated involvement. We may feel bored 
and alienated, like an outsider to our ex- 
perience. Nothing is new; everything is the 
same. "I've heard it all," is the lament. When 
we have that attitude, natural responses are 
deadened. We are not alert to the nuances of 
the moment, to the spontaneous response. We 
are bored because we think everything we are 
experiencing is the same old thing, identical 
to what we have already encountered. Life 
becomes meaningless, empty. 

What is happening here? Look carefully at 
how the mind works when we are bored — a 
potentially rich experience is reduced to a 
repeatable concept, to a category. In this 
state, what is encountered is a concept, an 
idea of a person or an event, not the actual 
person or event confronted. A concept ac- 
quired from the past surfaces to judge and to 
analyze the present. As a result the full pre- 
sent, with all its subtle nuances, multiple 
dimensions, and fascinating mystery is lost. 
"He is a German: he can't express his 
feelings." "He is just an intellectual." "She is 
an artist, an irrational person." "They are 
Arabs; you can't understand them." "I'm 
depressed. Nothing ever changes; I feel 

All these expressions show the mind reducing 
the profound subtlety and nuances of the mo- 
ment to repetitive ideas, to abstractions, to 
fixations. No creative relating is possible when 


we are locked into such abstractions, fixa- 
tions, and expectations. Boredom results. 

Honesty is also essential to creative relating. 
When feelings are not directly and honestly 
expressed, we deny ourselves. In the process 
relationship is stifled, and growth in relation- 
ship and in the self is impeded. This result is 
especially evident when dealing with feelings 
generally considered negative, for example, 
anger. In the impulse to repress the surge of 
anger all feelings are repressed. A habit of 
suppressing anger may lead to passive- 
aggressive behavior, or to self-torturing or 
somatic symptoms, such as headaches, upset 
stomaches, or more lasting chronic debilities. 

Emotions — even negative ones— released in 
creative relationships, centered in loving and 
caring, produce a generative power that is 
mutually shared and mutually energizing, ris- 
ing above the petty pain of "hurt feelings." 
What happens here is that energy customarily 
used to block the expression of anger (or 
other emotions) is turned to creative purpose. 

Thus, by not expressing feelings directly and 
honestly, we become alienated from ourselves. 
In such states of alienation, genuine intimacy 
is impossible. 

The solution is to let go of habitual clingings, 
let go of the old scripts of the past, let go of 
anticipation of the future. The individual can 
then flow spontaneously on the great waves of 
nature without fear, as T'ao Yuan-ming, the 
Chinese poet, said. Life requires a great deal 
of risk taking; in this risk taking each moment 
is lived new and fresh, and experience is 
magnified. When one plunges fully into the 
constant process of change, one experiences 
life intensely and achieves an intimate har- 
mony with all of life. 

The following is a personal example of 
creative relating. My nine-year old daughter 
knows how to get her needs met. Waiting for 
me to embrace her, and becoming disap- 
pointed when I am distracted by someone or 
something else, she does not pout or go off 
alone to sulk. Instead she will come to me 
and say, "Mama, cuddle," or "Mama, I want 
you to spend more time with me." Obviously, 
I am not able to spend as much time with her 
as she needs. But she does not hesitate to ex- 
press her feelings, and we usually work out 
something so she will not feel neglected. 
Children know how to be spontaneous and 
honest. They may be our best teachers. 

But being honest does not mean to descend 
to carping criticism or to flay the other with 
self-righteousness, with distorted personal, or 
rather, egoistic claims. This is false honesty, 

honesty that is no more than a mask for 
sadistic oppression. Authentic honest expres- 
sion of emotion deepens a relationship and 
makes creative relating possible. 

Creativity and Environment 

To be creative is to free oneself for total in- 
volvement in an existential moment— body, 
mind, and spirit. The first step is to cultivate 
the ability to integrate the "right-brain" func- 
tioning with the "left-brain" functioning that 
our world demands. This freedom to feel, to 
sense, to emote, to experience the world with 
our bodies as well as our minds, requires a 
return to intuitive knowing. We must learn 
from the child and bring the child's in- 
nocence, open honesty, curiosity, enthusiasm, 
and excitement into everyday living. It means 
slowing down, escaping the "push-button" 
culture syndrome— instant breakfast, instant 
gratification. We must take time to experience 
life's phenomena. Most of us live in a 
"hothouse," in air-conditioned cars, air- 
conditioned rooms cut off from nature in all 
its multifold dimensions. Creativity lies in 
touching, feeling the natural environment. 

Relating to the environment and relating to 
other persons go together. 

Creative relating is a meeting of real persons 
who are genuinely caring and honestly free 
and open to each other. It is a spontaneous 
and effortless expression of each self toward 
the other. 

Creative living demands trusting ourselves 
and owning all the dimensions of the self. It 
requires accepting the self as unique, whereby 
we can come to respect the uniqueness and 
dignity of the other. 

In this creative process of relating we touch 
something within another and, freeing that 
person to develop his or her potential, in the 
meantime affirm the self. If change occurs in 
us or in the other, it is not through manipula- 
tion but through a spontaneous growth pro- 
cess of two persons genuinely relating. 

Genuine relating is a sharing of life and life's 
experiences, fully, freely, and honestly, 
without risk of loss of identity or of trespass 
of our own boundaries. 

Genuine relating involves the whole person in 
the creative process. This process emerges 
within vital experience in the flow of real feel- 
ings, in our intimate relating to nature, to 
ourselves, and to others. 

To be creative is to encounter the world with 
our real self, with all of our dimensions, our 
own convictions and values, not with the 


"shoulds" and "should nots" that are the 
standards of others. Creativity is the process 
that actualizes our potentials as humans. To 
be creative makes us whole. 

We can see, then, the profound mystery of 
creative relating. It involves nothing less than 
our whole self, in every moment of existence/ 
being. It demands total absorption in the full 
scope of each present moment, with each per- 
son. To relate creatively is to be whole. To be 
whole is to be completely present in body, 
mind, and spirit, with each other and with 
our world in every encounter. In being whole 
we affirm all of life, and we can be more freely 
available to meet the needs and changes of 
each moment. We create each other, and 
share in creating the world. 


i Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chap. 51, ed. 
Wang P'i in Ssu Pu Pei Yao, vol. 341, compil- 
ed by Ting P'u Tzu et al. (Taipei: Chung 
Hua Press, 1965- 66), pp. 9-10, translation 
my own. 

2 Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chap. 25, quoted in 
Fung Yu-Lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy, 
vol. 1 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University 
Press, 1952), p. 187. 

3 Dylan Thomas, "The Force that through 
the Green Fuse," Collected Poems (New York: 
New Directions Books, 1953), p. 10. 

4 W.B. Yeats , "Among School Children," 
Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats (New York: 
Macmillan, 1952), p. 214. 

5 In D.T. Suzuki's foreward to Eugene Her- 
rigel's Zen in the Art of Archery (New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1964), p. 15. 

6 Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (New York: 
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1960), p. 139. 

7 Gabriel Marcel, Being and Having (New 
York: Harper and Row, 1965), p. 150. 

8 Karen Horney, Neurosis and Human Growth 
(New York: W.W. Norton, 1950), p. 179. 

9 Ibid. 

io Carl Rogers, "Toward a Theory of Creativi- 
ty," in Creativity and Its Cultivation, ed. H.H. 
Anderson (New York: Harper and Row, 
1959), pp. 73- 74. 

Gong, Shu, bom and raised in China, is an art 
therapist in Webster Groves, Missouri. She has 
taught painting, art history, literature and oriental 
philosophy and conducted workshops on Taoism 
and Chinese painting. Her paintings are included 
in private collections in China and the United 

This article first appeared in Relationships: 
Issues of Emotional Living in an Age of Stress for 
Clergy and Religious, ed. Sean D. Sammon, 
(Affirmation Books, Whitinsville, 
Massachusetts, 1983) and is reprinted by per- 


^ jj rfe -£ WOMEN OF CHINA * gj j? 4c 

Dear readers, 

Many thanks to The Creative Woman for 
publishing a special issue about the life and 
activities of Chinese women. Women of China 
is privileged to contribute ten articles. We 
sincerely hope this cooperation will strengthen 
the ties between the women of our two coun- 

Women in China started publication in 1956, 
and circulates in 133 countries. The magazine 
covers the work, study and life of Chinese 
women in socialist development, and informs 
readers of how these women deal with work, 
love, marriage, families, family planning and 
child education. We hope the articles here 
may give you some idea of the creativity of 
Chinese women and their ways of coping with 
their problems. 

Women of China 
Editorial Board 


by Nai Xin 

By middle age most women have acquired a 
wealth of work and life experience. It is a 
rewarding period when they often see their 
career successes furthered and can enjoy the 
love and care of their growing children and 
family. However, for many women this golden 
period is troubled by menopausal disorders. 
While in most women the symptoms are 
minimal and do not interfere with their daily 
lives, some women suffer severe disorders. 
Many doctors in China are looking into ways 
to help women cope with the physical and 
emotional changes that often accompany 

Helping Menopause Patients 

At 80, instead of leading the restful life of a 
pensioner, Doctor Wang Yaoyun, the former 
chief of the Gynecological and Obstetrical 
Department of the Beijing People's Hospital, 
still devotes much of her time in aiding pa- 
tients and researching menopausal disorders. 
She does volunteer work in the outpatient 
clinic for menopause patients three mornings 
a week, and has been working to popularize 
basic health care. Dr. Wang is aware of the 
need to provide care for menopause cases. In 
recent years, life expectancy in China has 
risen rapidly. Women in some regions live as 

long as 75 years. Among these elder women 
five percent suffer from menopause disorders. 
Dr. Wang knows only too well her patients' 

In some women, the reduced levels of estrogen 
in the body cause many symptoms. They 
range from endocrine disorders, nervous 
disturbances, and hypometabolism, resulting 
in excessive sweating to buzzing in the ears, 
backaches, fatigue, and high blood pressure. 
In some serious cases, the symptoms remained 
for as long as five years. 

Many women also undergo psychological 
changes. Some become depressed and moody; 
some have difficulty sleeping at night; and 
some sometimes become paranoid. One 
women was convinced she had cancer, 
another became obsessive about checking 
behind doors and under tables for intruders 
before going to bed. In some serious cases, 
these symptoms cause the women to lose the 
desire to live. 

Through years of experience Dr. Wang 
believes that a combination of Chinese and 
Western medicine is the most effective method 
for treating physical menopause disorders. Dr. 
Wang also firmly believes that, along with 
medication, good nutrition, more exercise and 
counseling are important in helping women 
live a regular life. 

The Psychology of Menopause 

Dr. Wang encourages her patients to be open 
with her about their emotions and concerns. 
She asks them detailed questions about family 
income, living conditions, eating habits, fami- 
ly relations, and working conditions. Many of 
her patients find it a great relief to be able to 
discuss such problems with Dr. Wang and 
often feel more confident and relaxed after the 
first consultation. 

A woman worker in the Shijingshan Special 
Steel Plant found herself becoming very short- 
tempered and irritated with her only son. 
One day he made some remark that in- 
furiated her. The woman snatched a kitchen 
knife and slashed out at him but was luckily 
stopped short by her husband. After this inci- 
dent the women was terribly depressed and 
hated herself. 

Dr. Wang talked this out with her and 
pointed out that many women are emotional- 
ly upset during menopause. After several long 
sessions the woman regained self-confidence 
and control of her temper. She discussed the 


^ jjj -k -k WOMEN OF CHINA <f jj j? 4c 

problem with her husband and son and they 
all worked together to help her through this 
trying period. 

A staff member at Beijing Pharmaceutical 
Company became quite a hypochondriac. She 
was terrified by slight dizziness, irritated by 
noise, and was reluctant to meet people. Tired 
of her work and unable to cope with these 
daily paranoias, she was thinking of retiring 
early. Dr. Wang told her, "There's really 
nothing to fear. You're not yet 50. You'll just 
feel more depressed if you retire. Look at me, 
I'm 80 this year. I go to work by bus and 
have plenty of energy. You must give your 
colleagues a chance to understand you and 
help you overcome these problems. Once you 
are confident about your work, you'll be in a 
better mood." 

A young radio announcer suffered from ir- 
regular menses. She was easily irritated and 
exhausted, and was often absent from work. 
Her marital life was also badly affected. Her 
liver, kidney, and blood tests showed nothing 
wrong. Dr. Wang diagnosed the case as a 
menopause disorder. She advised that the 
woman exercise several times a day to 
strengthen her physique and stimulate blood 
circulation. Dr. Wang also discussed how to 
overcome her patient's recent loss of sexual in- 

terest and even suggested correct positions 
during sexual intercourse to adjust for the 
retroversion of the uterus. 

Another young girl had had her uterus 
removed because of a myoma. Along with 
some physical problems, the young woman 
felt pessimistic about her future. She could 
not sleep, had no appetite, and lost a lot of 
weight. Talking with Dr. Wang, she said she 
was very worried that she would now never 
find a husband. Dr. Wang spent many hours 
giving her encouragement and advice. She 
pointed out that it was possible to have a 
happy life without children or she could 
maybe marry someone with a child or adopt 

Dr. Wang does not only counsel the women 
themselves but also often talks with the hus- 
band, giving advice on how to take care of his 
wife. She believes that a supportive home and 
work atmosphere are the best medicine for 
quick recovery. 

Popularizing Health Care Knowledge 

To help popularize her findings on menopause 
symptoms and cures, Dr. Wang spent over a 
year researching a book, Health Care During 
Menopause, which was published last autumn. 
It is based on interviews with 1,145 women 

hlai Kin 


<f j jj -4: WOMEN OF CHINA <f (g •& j* 

patients conducted by doctors and medical 
workers in five hospitals in Beijing. Most of 
the examples given are women workers, 
cadres, and technical personnel between 45 
and 49. The book deals with the physiological 
and pathological phenomena accompanying 
menopause and provides solutions for com- 
mon problems. 

Most of the patients Dr. Wang treated in the 
out-patient clinic of the People's Hospital are 
personnel in the Ministry of Radio and 
Television, Ministry of Geology and Mineral 
Resources, and the No. 159 Middle School. 
Dr. Wang contacted 352 of them within the 
45-52 age bracket. She also sorted out data 
from case histories of menopause patients and 
researched the menstrual cycle, conception 
and delivery, menopause, and the history of 
women's diseases. 

Supported by medical workers in local 
districts, Dr. Wang interviewed 400 residents 
during general medical checkups of women's 
diseases. She also visited 430 families in the 
neighborhood, going from door to door in 
one of the hottest months in Beijing. It was a 
tough job for an 80 year-old women, but this 
first-hand information gave her a wealth of 
data on menopause symptoms. 

According to Dr. Wang, the average age of 
menopause in Beijing is 48.16 ± 3.79. The na- 
tional level is 49.5. This slight difference 
shows that menopause is affected not only by 
genetic factors, health, and nutrition, but also 
by climate and social environment. 

In order to give every symptom a plain and 
clear explanation, Dr. Wang did extensive 
reading on biology, geriatrics, and en- 
docrinology. She then asked some of her pa- 
tients to read the manuscript for added input 
and to see if the descriptions were easily 
understood. Some smiled at the passages 
"everything becomes offensive to the eye," or 
"finding fault in everything." Some told Dr. 
Wang, "I know so much more now — when it 
is necessary to call the doctor, and when I 
can manage by taking some medicine or exer- 
cising by myself." 

Towards the Golden Age 

This popular guide book has been warmly 
received by medical workers at the grass-roots 
levels, as well as middle-aged women and their 
families. The data, detailed explanations and 
methods of treatment have reduced the 
previous mystery and uncertainty many of the 

readers felt towards menopause. It has helped 
many women face this new period of life with 
greater confidence and courage. The practical 
measures included in the book ensure that 
their middle and old age will truly be their 
golden years. 


^ jj jg ^ WOMEN OF CHINA f H j? 4c 


by Rao Fudi 

"During sixteen years, I have risen from an 
ordinary shop assistant to become manager of 
a provision shop. 

"In the first eight years, I worked with the 
director of the No. 4 sales department and 
turned the shop into an advanced unit in the 
province by achieving the best sales record in 
the locality. Later, I was appointed director of 
the No. 5 sales department. The shop was in 
a remote mountainous area and had few 
patrons, so we had difficulty increasing our 
turnover. Despite the obstacles, we sent goods 
to consumers' homes, dressed the shop win- 
dow attractively, and gained the patronage of 
the local people. Finally, the store became 
well-established and was cited a civic-oriented 
business in the province. 

"In order to improve the quality of service 
and my own managing skills, I have read 
many foreign books on topics relating to 
business and I have tried to find out the laws 
that govern my work and to develop them in- 
to a theory. In 1982, I wrote my first thesis 
entitled 'Economic Management in Retail 
Sales.' I presented this paper first at a district 
symposium on the theory of trade and 
economics, and later at the annual meeting of 
the society of Trade and Economics in 
Jiangxi. All participants praised my thoughts 
on what is widely regarded as an important 
but largely unaddressed subject. 

"However, while I was continuously seeking 
and advancing my career, the conflicts within 
my family deepened day by day. My husband 
was a school teacher, so he had a strict com- 
mute schedule, and my work hours were long. 
I even worked overtime before holidays. 
Though he prepared suppers for me, he 
grumbled each time. I was dreadfully tired 
from my work, and his complaints made me 
feel wronged and vexed, and sometimes I 
cried through dinner. I love both my cause 
and my family, and it seemed that I could on- 
ly pursue one of the two. 

"My husband also has a strong sense of his 
work, and he did not really want to hold me 
back. I interpreted his complaint as an expres- 
sion of love and concern, otherwise why 
would he cook for me? I should make him 
understand my work, and more importantly, I 

must respect him. He was fond of poems, so I 
decorated the room with a poem I copied. 
The poem compares a teacher to a candle 
which burns itself to light the path ahead for 
the others. At the same time, I composed a 
poem praising the work spirit of saleswomen. 
He was delighted to see the decoration and 
said humorously, 'Now you have become a 
poet!' Since he is a physical education in- 
structor, whenever one of his trainees is 
transferred to a provincial athletic team, I 
cook a special meal for him to show my con- 

"Once, when my husband wasn't busy, I ask- 
ed him to join me when I made a delivery for 
a customer. A peasant needed some brown 
sugar to compound medicine, but we had 
none in the shop. After learning that a store 
in another county had the sugar, I immediate- 
ly posted money and a letter to request it. 
Soon, the sugar arrived. On the coming Sun- 
day, my husband and I bicycled more than 
five kilometers to deliver it to the patient's 
house. The family was really quite moved that 
we went to such an effort. My husband was 
also deeply touched by their feeling, and on 
our way home he spoke highly of my work. 
Ever since that day he has never grumbled 
when I get home late." 

Rao Fudi 


^ jg rfe ^f WOMEN OF CHINA ^ (g j? jc 


by Su Bian 

After Beijing was made capital in the Yuan 
Dynasty (1206-1368), magnificent palaces and 
elegant pavilions were built by successive 
feudal rulers. However, the wide and spacious 
roads in Beijing are something new. Chang'an 
Boulevard, the broad main street which goes 
across the city proper, and once called 
Celestial Street, was at most a mud road 
seven meters wide, some 500 years ago. Beij- 
ing took on a new look after the founding of 
the New China in 1949. Some 36 overpasses 
built at busy intersections since 1972 signify a 
continually changing city. 

Modern roads are a must to a developing city 
like Beijing, and overpasses are badly needed. 
Building the overpasses is the responsibility of 
the Municipal Design Institute, the job was 
assigned to the No. 2 Bridge Design Group 
under its Road and Bridge Section. The group 
consists of 1 1 designers, eight of them women. 
Six women undertake the main design work. 

"My daughter once confessed that she was 
not sure whether girls could be as intelligent 
as boys, but I strongly objected her idea," said 
Luo Ling, head of the group." 'Choose a field 

Huang Shunxi 

that suits you best,' I said to her. 'Go ahead 
with it energetically — that way you would be 
sure to attain success." This was, in fact, 
what Luo has done in the past twenty-some 

In all those years Luo has spent most of her 
time either in an office or on construction 
sites, designing bridges or overpasses. In re- 
cent years, one assignment has always been 
waiting for her long before the other has been 
finished. Her father had wanted Luo, his 
tomboy-like daughter, to become a railway 
engineer like him, but she preferred bridge- 
designing, thinking them a link between 
Nature and man and between human beings. 

The group was set up in 1977 to design an 
overpass at the former Jianguomen Gate in 
the eastern part of Beijing. Luo Ling and her 
five women colleagues— Huang Shunxi, Wu 
Xilun, Wang Shuji, Liu Guiqin, and He 
Wei — were then already in their middle years, 
and had similar experiences. All of them had 
taken part in bridge building in hilly regions 
in the 1960s when they were young and 
carefree, without any family burden. The pro- 
jects they undertook then were comparatively 
simple. They could learn much from the ex- 
perience of others. 

Today, as senior architects, they are expected 


# $ & -k WOMEN OF CHINA + $ ^ <k 

to design bridges which call for up-to-date ex- 
pertise. Their workloads are heavy. They have 
to continually renew their knowledge and also 
help the younger generation improve their 
professional skills. What is more, all of them 
have families, though they vary in size. 
However, the eagerness to do their utmost 
was still there to pull them together in cheer- 
ful cooperation. 

The Jianguomen project was then the biggest 
and most complicated in China, with three 
top levels for roads and two lower levels for 
subways. Special consideration had to be 
given to the already existing underground net- 
work of pipes and electric lines. The regular 
flow of 4,110,000 bicycles in this "kingdom of 
bicycles" is another important factor for con- 

Construction started while the design work 
was still underway. The women finished their 
work within six months, two months ahead of 
schedule. To do this, they moved onto the 
construction site, putting up with the ex- 
tremely hot July and August weather in Beij- 
ing and hordes of mosquitoes and other in- 
sects. They worked from morning to night 
each day and often on Sundays as well. There 
were not pocket calculators in those days, but 
still they covered thousands of pages of paper 
with calculations and produced hundreds of 
blueprints and plans. 

No outsiders knew that during this time the 
two-year-old daughter of Huang Shunxi had 
contracted hepatitis and her mother-in-law 
was also seriously ill. Her husband, who also 
worked at a construction site, could not 
possibly look after two patients at the same 
time. Huang spent many days with her 
daughter till she fetched her mother from 
another province to look after the sick child 
for her. Huang then took her elder daughter 
along with her to live on the work site. Even 
with all these distractions, she finished her 
quota by working overtime. 

"Hard work alone is not enough to complete 
a job," said Luo Ling, who represented the 
group. These women are inventive and 
creative. They are not content with doing 
things in a conventional way, though that 
might be simpler and easier. They always look 
forward to jobs that are challenging and call 
for new technology. 

It was in this spirit they did the designs for 
the three-level Xizhimen Gate overpass, an 
even larger and more complicated project, in- 

volving curves, slanting surfaces and slopes. 
They knew where their weak points were, and 
consulted foreign and Chinese sources before 
they worked out the most suitable methods of 
this job. Their project proved a success 
through the close cooperation of the construc- 
tion unit. The magnificent Xizhimen Gate 
overpass in west Beijing has done a lot to ease 
traffic jams. 

These women architects are all supported by 
their husbands in many household tasks. Luo 
Ling's husband, who teaches in an engineer- 
ing institute, has a flexible work schedule. He 
does most of the cooking and washing. He 
Wei's husband prepares the supper for the 
family. He is always the first to be back since 
his office is only a stone's throw from home. 

Wu Xilun and her husband planned carefully 
about sharing the household chores. Every 
day, Wu would buy some fried pancakes or 
buns for family breakfast on her way home 
from morning jogging, so that he could have 
plenty of time to concentrate on his studies. 
Every evening after supper, her husband 
would wash the dishes and do the cleaning 
while she often went back to her office to 
study until 10 o'clock. 

"We each plan our life the way we want. Of 
course, we have to give up something in order 
to gain," said Wu. The woman architect did 
not have much time with her daughter, but 
she always reserved Sunday afternoon to talk 
things over with the girl, sharing her joys and 
complaints, telling her success stories of some 
outstanding women in Chinese history, and 
her personal experience in overcoming 
obstacles. Overpass designing was new to Wu, 
but she managed to catch up with the rest. 
Last year she was assigned to design a bridge, 
part of the No. 8 Wharf in Quingdao City, 
Shandong Province and learned through 
tackling new problems. 

When asked how many bridges and over- 
passes they have completed, Luo Ling confess- 
ed they've been too busy to look back at what 
they've already done. 


^ gj j? ^T WOMEN OF CHINA ^ H jg *k 


by Xiao Ming 

For many people, building bridges is a man's 
job. But I wonder what they would say if 
while crossing the majestic Jinan Road Bridge 
that spans the lower reaches of the Huanghe 
(Yellow) River, they were told that the 
seventh largest cable-stayed bridge in the 
world and the largest in Asia, was co-designed 
by a woman and a man. This bridge measures 
2,023.4 meters in total, is 19.5 meters wide, 
with the main section stretching 220 meters. 
Its chief designers Wan Shanshan and Li 
Shoushan, engineers of the Transportation 
Planning and Designing Institute, Shandong 
Province, were in their thirties when they 
began to work on this bridge. 

When China started to reorganize its national 
economy in 1977, Shandong provincial 
authorities decided that Jinan, the political, 
economic, and cultural center, and capital of 
the province, should be made more accessible. 
Communications were seriously hampered by 
the Huanghe River which flows past the city 
to the north. The only means of transport 
across the river were two ferry boats handling 
1,500-2,000 cars and trucks, and 10,000 
passengers every day. It was not unusual for a 
car to wait anywhere from two to six hours to 
get across. During the high-water season, traf- 
fic came to a complete standstill. Consequent- 
ly, building a highway bridge was approved. 

Wan Shanshan and Li Shoushan were excited 
over the mission. A great bridge to serve the 

millions generation after generation would be 
the dream of any bridge architect. Cable- 
stayed bridges have only recently been con- 
structed in a few other countries and offer the 
advantages of greater span and flexibility, bet- 
ter appearance, and lower cost. In 1975 Wan 
and Li designed the 104-meter Dagu River 
cable-stayed bridge near Qingdao, China's 
first long bridge of this kind. Designing the 
much bigger Jinan Bridge represented their 
new effort to rank China among the world's 
foremost modern bridge builders. 

Their plan was to use 272 diagonal steel brac- 
ing cables, the longest one being 1 10 meters 
long weighing over three tons. The two 
cement-concrete pylons would be 70 meters 
high each. According to other designs for 
bridges of this type, the cables, after passing 
through the tower crosspiece on the tops, 
should be stretched many times until they are 
up to standard in tautness. This hazardous 
job must be done high above the ground. 
Wan and Li spent several sleepless months 
designing the best work plan. Although they 
often argued and neither one of them gave in 
easily, they finally worked out a plan which 
completed the stretching in one operation. 

The bridge structure was so intricate that a 
tiny error could end in disaster. Whenever a 
problem came up while the cables were being 
stretched, Wan Shanshan would climb up the 
68.4 meters of steel scaffolding to figure out a 
solution. Some of her male colleagues were 
afraid to venture up the pylons, but Wan 
overcame her fear, the bridge was too impor- 
tant to let anything stand in the way of suc- 
cessful completion. 

Wan Shanshan, second, right 


jr g jjj -£ WOMEN OF CHINA *®-k-k 

During these intense days, she was plagued by 
periodic vaginal hemorrhaging. One day she 
lost consciousness. By taking several shots of 
hemostatics every day, she controlled the 
bleeding and went back to work. But the 
hemorrhaging continued and when she could 
no longer work, she agreed to have a 
hysterectomy. Before she was fully recovered, 
she returned to the construction site. Her hus- 
band, Huang Xiangfeng, remarked, "She's 
given all she has to the bridge." 

Now her male comrades on the construction 
site began to judge her in a new light. Her 
colleague Li Shoushan praised her for her 
iron will, well-organized way of life, and cons- 
cientious style of work. If there had been any 
doubt about her before, there certainly was 
not now. 

The Huanghe River Road Bridge was com- 
pleted in four years, and opened in July 1982. 
The project received an award for the design 
and construction from the government. 

A civil engineer must be physically and men- 
tally strong. Otherwise he or she would not 
be able to withstand the hard work on the 
construction site and the long stay away from 
home. Because women usually have greater 
family responsibilities and are thought to be 
physically weaker than men, they are often 
assigned the easier jobs. 

But Wan Shanshan would not allow anyone 
else to map out a life for her, or restrict her 
opportunities. She has from the very first day 
struggled against the traditional prejudice 
toward women. 

When her first child was 10 months old, Wan 
was assigned a job far away from her home. If 
Wan had told her superior that she would not 
leave her baby, she would surely have been 
permitted to stay at home and someone else 
would take the job. But she thought that 
bearing and bringing up a child should not be 
a barrier to women taking important jobs, 
jobs for which they were highly trained. So 
she left her child with her neighbor and went 
with her colleagues to the construction site. 

At the worksite, Wan looked calm and col- 
lected, but she saw her baby son in every cry- 
ing child. When she returned home, after 
about a month, she was ecstatic when she saw 
her son sunning in the courtyard. 

Wan often went surveying with her male col- 
leagues, lugging the instruments over all kinds 
of terrain. Since the leaders of her work unit 

knew she could be counted on even though 
she now had two children, Wan has been en- 
trusted with important design work over the 
past dozen years. 

In 1975 work on the Dagu River Bridge was 
started. The design and construction took 
three years. Overall, Wan stayed for two years 
on the site, and brought her daughter along. 
During that time, Wan's husband, also a civil 
engineer, supported his wife in every way and 
took over the greater part of household 
chores. Following the example of their 
parents, the children have learned to be in- 
dependent. Each member of the family, it 
seems, is always on the move. And even 
when they do meet, each one of them has his 
or her own affairs to attend to, so they rarely 
have a quiet moment to talk. Her husband, 
also doing well, has been promoted to deputy 
director of the Design Institute in recognition 
of his outstanding contribution. Her son is 
now grown and studies mathematics in col- 

Over the past 20 years, Wan Shanshan has 
participated in the construction of 25 impor- 
tant bridges. The Jinan Bridge, the biggest 
challenge in her long career, won honor for 
China's bridge builders and for the women of 


*f jg j? j: WOMEN OF CHINA ^ H j? ^T 


by Bian Xiulan 

I have worked at the Maternity and Child 
Health Center of Xinhua Sala Autonomous 
County for three years now. With a medical 
staff of ten, the Center cares for 15,300 
households organized in 154 brigades in 10 
communes. We have set up a health protec- 
tion network consisting of professionally- 
trained medical personnel at the commune 
level, and paramedics and midwives at the 
village level. 

The county is located in east Qinghai Pro- 
vince, 2,300 meters above sea level with peo- 
ple of Sala, Tibetan, Hui, and Han na- 
tionalities, the Salas constituting the majority. 
To get to the provincial capital Xining, the 
townspeople have to spend three days tramp- 
ing over two mountains on a donkey's back, 
then ride on a sheepskin raft to cross the 
Huanghe (Yellow) River, traveling 170 kms. in 

I was transferred from the department of 
gynecology and obstetrics at the county 
hospital to the Maternity and Child Health 
Center in 1980. Upon my arrival, I organized 
all the medical personnel in the Center to 
make a door- to-door survey of the physical 
condition of women of child-bearing age and 
children below the age of 7. Through this 
survey, we realized how much our services 



- rrl 

< ! ■ »■ ' •« 

Bian Xiulan, second, left 

were needed. Although many Sala women 
have taken off their veils and attend social ac- 
tivities, they are still under the influence of 
some superstitious and feudal notions. For in- 
stance, Sala girls seldom go to school; women 
students will not wear shorts even at sports 
events. Most important for our work, preg- 
nant women still prefer to have their rt latives 
help them with their deliveries at home in- 
stead of going to hospital, where the condi- 
tions are more sanitary. According to custom, 
when labor begins a family member sets a fire 
in front of the house to keep other people 
away. A doctor is called only when the preg- 
nant woman is in difficult labor. Because of 
this backward method of delivery, the infant 
mortality rate is quite high in this area. 

To change this situation but preserve the 
custom of having their relatives as midwives, 
we decided to set up a maternity team with 
public-spirited young mothers from each of 
the ethnic groups. By giving them elementary 
medical training in obstetrics, we upgraded 
the skills of some who were village doctors, 
and gave the others their first instruction in 
anatomy and physiology. To help them 
understand their lessons better, we made a big 
cloth doll to demonstrate essential points, and 
then showed them how to give pregnant 
women prenatal check-ups. After coming back 
to the classroom, we used charts, illustrations, 
and models to review what they had already 
learned. The young women gradually grew 
confident and eager to master some basic 
skills of modern delivery. To make sure their 


+ (Q rfe -£ WOMEN OF CHINA + (fl ^ -£ 

theoretical knowledge was well grounded, we 
also set up a four-month refresher course 
which focused on clinical procedures. Those 
who did exceedingly well in the final examina- 
tions were sent for further professional train- 
ing to a class run by the provincial women's 
federation. We now have 161 midwives in our 
county, of whom 83 are Salas, 57, Tibetans. 
They often make house calls to give the preg- 
nant women in the area periodic check-ups 
and explain the scientific delivery method to 
them in their own language. The women who 
used to avoid check-ups now seek help. "Not 
one of them has failed to ask me for help with 
their delivery," said a satisfied midwife. 

We tried to emphasize advantages of the 
modern delivery method. But we did not suc- 
ceed at first. Take the imam in Tangfang 
Brigade, Jiezi Commune for example. His 
pregnant daughter was diagnosed as one likely 
to have complications in delivery so we sug- 
gested that he send her to the hospital. But 
the imam refused to listen to our advice. She 
was in labor for three days and nights but still 
did not give birth. At last, he consented to 
send his daughter to the hospital. Though in 
the end his daughter survived, the baby died 
inside its mother's womb. The imam felt so 
sorry, he became a supporter of the scientific 
delivery method in his village. 

The people of Caotanba Brigade were ready 
to accept modern midwifery but could not be 
convinced of the importance of family- 
planning. To win them over, I gave them two 
figures: one was the number of the villagers, 
the other was the acreage of arable land in 
their village. I then pointed out that within 
three and a half years, the number of people 
in their village had doubled while their land 
had remained the same. Without family plan- 
ning, 1 insisted, there would be no way that 
land could support any more people. The 
villagers thought this was a reasonable conclu- 
sion and began to persuade their daughters 
and daughters-in-law to practice contracep- 

Recently, we have made full use of the mass 
media such as radio, the wall newspaper, 
meetings, and performances at festivals to 
make people aware of the advantage of the 
modern delivery method. In 1983, during the 
county's trade fair, we had an exhibition 
booth with pictures and models explaining the 
process of birth and appropriate medical pro- 
cedures. It drew nearly 30,000 visitors. We 

also tried to persuade pregnant women, their 
husbands and mothers-in-law in separate 
groups to accept these new ideas. We told 
them that during 1980-81, we saved 19 preg- 
nant women who might have otherwise died; 
8 had had difficult deliveries, 1 1 had suffered 
from serious pre-and post- partum hemorrhag- 
ing. Through our publicity work and the 
testimony of people from the area we could 
point to, the women have slowly acquired 
habits of daily hygiene and accepted modern 

Our health center was built from two 
warehouses, with one operating table and a 
small medicine cupboard. All year round, the 
health workers at the Center provide out- 
patient and mobile services. No matter how 
rotten the weather is or how far the patient's 
house is, we will go anytime and anywhere we 
are needed. 

One night, when I was running a high fever 
and had gone to bed, a Hui mute rushed into 
my house, almost out of breath. Gesturing 
frantically, he made me understand that his 
wife was in labor and having difficulty. I hur- 
ried the five li with him to his home. After 
several hours of emergency treatment, both 
the mother and child came through the 
delivery well. But I got myocarditis and had 
to be hospitalized. Worried and upset, the Hui 
couple came to see me with a lot of expensive 
tonic. I was touched by this gesture of friend- 
ship. Now, whenever we call at a villager's 
house, the whole family treats us like their in- 
timate friends and brings us sweet longan 
juice or stuffed mutton buns. It makes us 
know our work is worthwhile. 

My husband is the physician-in-charge in the 
county hospital. We often discuss medical 
cases together. When I am out making my 
rounds in the villages he and our children do 
all the household chores and eat in the 
hospital's dining room. I am approaching 50, 
and had my gallbladder removed not too long 
ago, but I'm still available anytime on call. I'm 
using all my skills in training young doctors 
and promoting public health work. From my 
experience here, I know that scientific 
knowledge can defeat superstitious beliefs and 
conventional ideas. We have tried to live up 
to the people's expectations of a better life 
and they appreciate our sincerity, but we will 
have to work still harder to bring about the 
fundamental changes needed in this backward 


f jg J? -£ WOMEN OF CHINA f jj ^ -k 

Wang KaiHua 


by He Bi 

"I've not regretted the path I've chosen," said 
the woman professor Wang KaiHua. Unlike 
others who became famous at 20 or 30, Wang 
did not start to show her talents until she was 
forty. In 1977, she was invited to work with 
the national gastric cancer research depart- 
ment. By 1983, Wang had not only published 
many respected papers but she had also 
established laboratories for gastric cancer 
research at two universities. After coming to 
Xiamen University in 1982, Wang set up an 
anti-cancer research center and became depu- 
ty director. 

Wang Kaihua's career proceeded as a series of 
hurdles cleared. When she and her colleagues 
made outstanding achievements at the Shan- 
dong Teachers' University, people became 
jealous and tried to stand in Wang's way. Her 
paper was rejected and funds for her research 
were withheld. While Wang appealed her case 
to higher authorities, the research in her 
laboratory never stopped. 

After pooling support and encouragement 
from her associates, Wang's achievements 
were finally recognized and the attention of 
the authorities was aroused. As the press 
reported the work of this outstanding woman 
scientist, Wang was already studying and 
outlining her next project. At a meeting in 
Beijing in 1982, she received both approval 
and financial support for her proposal to set 
up an anti-cancer center. Wang was to be 
responsible for setting up the center and her 
first job was to look for professional staff and 

purchase a substantial amount of equipment. 
She even had to find the land on which to 
construct the center. She encountered 
numerous difficulties during the project and 
she suffered ridicule especially when problems 
cropped up. But her colleagues were impressed 
by her determination to continue her work 
head on. Once after the completion of the 
project, she spoke frankly, "One can never ex- 
pect to receive only praise. But you will ac- 
complish nothing if you allow criticism to in- 
terfere with your work." Once however, dur- 
ing a particularly low point of the project, she 
did waver. At that time her relatives were 
urging her to join her husband and son in the 
United States. But after considering her op- 
tions, she decided it was her duty to stay in 
China and make contributions to the medical 
field. Wang told her relatives: I've set my goal 
even though I might not reach it. However, I 
will never regret even being only a small peb- 
ble on the road I am taking. 


Although certain cancers can be controlled 
and cured, it is still considered to be an in- 
curable disease. A person who has the 
courage to challenge such diseases must 
possess a strong will. 

Wang knew that much research in China has 
brought international attention, but theory 
must be applied. Certain cancer can be cured 
if it is detected at an earlier stage. With 
cooperation from her colleagues, Wang began 
conducting cancer screening in some pro- 
vinces and cities. Many cases of cancer were 
discovered at an early stage. Wang also sug- 
gested that the local government take more ef- 
fective anti-pollution measures. In order to 
detect early stage cancer, she introduced the 
Western technique of photo-dynamic 
technology, McAb and other immunology 
methods so that the patient can build an im- 
munity to the disease and some tumors can 
be detected in their early stage. This method 
has received fairly good results. 

To Wang, cancer is not only a medical pro- 
blem, but also a social problem. Faced with 
the limited facilities in China, a hospital can- 
not usually accept a cancer patient for long- 
term care. As a result, family members must 
request leave from work to care for the pa- 
tient, and go from place to place in search of 
doctors and medicine. Often the patient fails 
to cooperate with the doctor because of fear. 
In the early 1980s Wang undertook to solve 


^ gj jj j: WOMEN OF CHINA jf jj ^ -k 

this problem. She felt that the establishment 
of an institution for care and treatment of 
cancer patients would relieve many patients 
and take the strain off hospitals. But in order 
to establish such a facility, money and 
medical workers were needed. When at last 
the facility was set up, Wang only had a few 
dozen people working with her. She sought 
help from institutes and hospitals throughout 
the country offering to employ medical per- 
sonnel and experts on a contract basis. The 
Beijing Ritan Hospital, the nation's largest 
hospital specializing in tumors responded to 
her request for cooperation. In 1983, Wang 
was invited to participate in the 8th Interna- 
tional Cytology Conference in the United 
States, where her paper on the cells of 
stomach cancer won praise. She also received 
technical support from a large number of 
foreign experts, and introduced advanced laser 
equipment and some biotechnical instruments 
to China. Wang started planning to make 
Xiamen into a small science city. According 
to her plan, experts would be invited to come 
to work and do research. When the news 
about the new science city spread, many peo- 
ple came to add their names to the list. 
Wang's assistants respected her because she 
turned many difficult and illusory hopes into 

Struggling On 

Wang usually works 16 or 17 hours a day, 
and she seldom rests on Sundays and 
holidays. One of her friends calculated that if 
Wang worked 8 hours a day, she was already 
over one hundred years old. They persuaded 
her to take more rest, but Wang said, "I get 
sick if I take a long rest." 

Apart from praises, Wang is sometimes 
criticized for her quick temper and straightfor- 
wardness. "I can't forgive carelessness because 
in this work it affects people's lives." Then she 
added, "My workload is too heavy to waste 
long hours persuading people to correct their 

At home Wang never disciplines her two sons 
through lectures. "It doesn't mean that I don't 
care for them. Children get the best education 
through the example of their parents," said 
Wang. She taught them to do household 
work and to become independent in everyday 
life in their early childhood. 

In 1985, Wang attended a conference in the 
United States and it ended at the time of the 
Spring Festival. Instead of visiting her 

relatives in San Francisco, she came back to 

Wang's elder son went to the United States 
after graduating from the Central Conser- 
vatory of Music and became a violinist. Wang 
and her son don't often see each other, but 
they maintain a good relationship. Wang's 
husband is now working at a university in the 
United States. She and her husband are 
devoted to each other and mutually suppor- 
tive of their careers. 


^ jg jj ^ WOMEN OF CHINA ^ (fl j? ^T 


by Cheng Jingjing 

The lights in the theatre dim gradually and 
soon the curtain will rise for the full-length 
opera Ayiguli. Sounds of percussion can be 
heard from the orchestra pit— this is the musi- 
cians' way of welcoming their conductor. 

A slim elegant woman wearing a dark green 
dress comes on to the podium. Soon the en- 
tire theatre is under the spell of her conduc- 
ting as a lovely melody soars through the air, 
its power tempered by gentleness. This is 
Zheng Xiaoying— China's top, and also her 
first, woman conductor, now leading the or- 
chestra of the Central Opera Theatre. 

Zheng Xiaoying's name is very familiar to 
Chinese audiences, for her career has been a 
story of extraordinary achievements gained 
through long years of consistent and exacting 
hard work. A music lover from childhood, 
she began to learn to play the piano at six 
and performed the works of Beethoven and 
Chopin in public at the age of 14. When she 
was 10, she and her younger sister appeared 
in a joint recital, dancing and playing in- 
struments to raise money in support of the 
country's war effort against the Japanese in- 
vaders. They sent the money they had raised 
to the late Mr. Zou Taofen, who was then in 
charge of the progressive Life Bookstore in 
Chongqing, to support the magazine Life at 
the Front published by Mr. Zou for com- 
manders and soldiers at the front. Not long 
afterwards, the two sisters received a letter of 
thanks written by Mr. Zou himself. Mr. Zou 
commended them upon their patriotism and 
printed in the magazine their letter explaining 
the purpose of their cash donation. 

Ironically, Zheng Xiaoying had never thought 
of making music her career. Hoping to 
become a doctor, she was admitted to Jinling 
Girls' College in Nanjing. By that time China 
had won the war of resistance against Japan, 
but the Kuomintang reactionaries had taken 
the opportunity to provoke an all-out civil 
war in China. Under the influence of pro- 
gressive students, she came to accept revolu- 
tionary ideas and joined the students' amateur 
chorus. Moved to indignation by the events 
of the time, they sang militant revolutionary 
songs in schools, parks and streets. 

In 1948, Zheng Xiaoying resolutely gave up 
her studies in the college's medical department 
and went to the Communist-led liberated 
areas to start a new life. 

For the following four years, she worked in a 
song and dance troupe. Apart from singing, 
she also taught the theory of music. She had 
never learned how to conduct but, when she 
was needed, she tried her best to learn and 
acted as conductor for the chorus. She pro- 
gressed from this to conducting the orchestra 
when it accompanied operettas. She could 
turn her hand to everything— beating a drum 
or striking a gong where necessary or even 
playing the trombone. 

In 1952, Zheng Xiaoying, at the age of 23, was 
chosen to study in the Central Conservatory 
of Music. She majored first in composing and 
then in conducting. She was so talented and 
hardworking that she was sent to study in the 
Moscow National Conservatory. She did ex- 
ceedingly well there and made an impressive 
debut by conducting the Italian operas La 
Tosca and La Traviata. 

After she returned, she taught in the depart- 
ment of conducting at the Central Conser- 
vatory of Music while doubling up as a con- 
ductor for the Central Opera and Danoj 
Drama theatre. One of her first challenges on 
returning to China was to conduct sym- 
phonies by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and 
she distinguished herself in these perfor- 
mances. Cognoscenti in Chinese musical 
circles praised her conducting as precise, ex- 
quisite and full of feeling. Full recognition 
came when she succeeded in conducting the 
opera Ayiguli, and from then on she has been 
regarded as an outstanding and very talented 

Conductors must have great musical ability 
and a strong physique. Thus in the past, con- 
ducting used to be considered exclusively a 
male profession. But through diligent study, 
Zheng Xiaoying finally became China's top 
female orchestral conductor and is well- 
respected in the music world. Her example 
proves that the determining factor for suc- 
cessful conducting is no longer the sex of the 
conductor — what count now are diligence and 

A conductor's relationship with an orchestra 
is rather like that of the goose at the head of 
a pack of wild geese. When Zheng Xiaoying 
began serving as the principal conductor in 


^ tg rfe -£ WOMEN OF CHINA JMjU?^ 

the Central Opera Theatre in 1977, the or- 
chestra had just been re-established and most 
of the musicians were young and inexperienc- 
ed. Their inadequate playing techniques and 
orchestral skills presented problems, but she 
was confident they could be overcome and 
worked harder than ever to prove this. She 
first checked the musicians' professional level 
individually so that she could gain some idea 
of each one's ability and aptitude. Then she 
divided them into small groups to play duets, 
trios or quartets to improve the quality of 
their performance as a team. She also worked 
out a training program for the orchestra and 
gave lectures on musical theory. 

She sets strict. standards in rehearsals and 
places greafclemands on her musicians. To 
this entfshe indicates the slightest of faults 
immediately. Once, during a rehearsal of a 
Spanish capriccio, she had to stop and go 
back several times because one particular 
musician had not entirely mastered the 
rhythm. But she didn't blame him, just in- 
structing him patiently and encouraging him 
to try again and again until he'd grasped the 
rhythm successfully. Her musicians genuinely 
respect and care for her. One said, "Whenever 
our conductor raises her baton, we seem to 
obtain strength from her reassuring glances 
and her precise and smooth gestures. Our 
confidence is so great that we feel as if we 
were not playing a well-known symphony but 
engaged in creating something new under the 
baton of our conductor." 

Zheng Xiaoying is affable and an easy person 
with whom to get along. She cares for each of 
the musicians, chats with them, and takes 
them out to see performances by other musi- 
cians. Sometimes he spends her holidays go- 
ing on outings with them. If one of them falls 
ill, she brings along some fruit or cakes and 
calls on them. The musicians love their 
woman conductor dearly and willingly consult 
her when problems crop up. It is this sense of 
unity and closeness between them that helps 
them cooperate well and go on to ever greater 

Under her conducting, the orchestra of the 
Central Opera Theatre has had a number of 
successes in recent years, playing the accom- 
paniment for the Italian opera La Traviata, 
and performing the Japanese opera Yuzuru 
and the dance drama The Match Girl. They 
also play complete works by world-famous 

When the opera Ayiguli was staged in the 
southern border town of Shenzhen, it caused 
a sensation throughout Hongkong and 
Macao. Critics from music circles there said 
that Zheng Xiaoying with her baton had the 
air of a "senior general." It's a sure bet that in 
the future the "general" will continue to guide 
her contingents of players to still greater suc- 


* $ 4$ 4c WOMEN OF CHINA £ ifl -6 4c 

Zhao Xiaomo 


by Zhao Xiaomo 

It is a great pleasure to experiment in the 
world of art. Creation is always delightful to 

Once someone said to me creating can 
sometimes be very hard. He had difficulty 
thinking of ways of expressing himself with 
his brush. I told him not to worry. He could 
only benefit if he waited for inspiration. 
When it came, he would be able to paint in 
the best way. Of course, I was joking, but I do 
believe in inspiration. It is not supernatural, 
but rather the accumulation of experience in 
life. Subconscious learning can suddenly 
emerge in inspiration. My best works have 
been done under such circumstances. 

Artistic creation is the fruit of emotion. A 
good painting requires skill and technique, 
but more important is a reflection of the ar- 
tist's feelings and character. Absolute objec- 
tivism is simply reproduction, not expression. 
A painting must express the artist's intentions 
and feelings. I have gradually realized these 

truths after long years of study and practice. 
During my school days, I enjoyed sketching. 
The works of world masters were sacred to 
me. Once I came across a collection of 
Menzel's reprints. I wanted to copy them, but 
my hands were too clumsy. I never succeeded. 

Then I entered the secondary school affiliated 
with the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 
Beijing. I worked hard, hoping soon to com- 
prehend the shape of the human body, the 
structure of painting, the exactness of sket- 
ching, the compactness of perspective, balance 
of composition, and harmony of color. How I 
longed to make the sketch perfect. But my 
pencil refused to obey. I could never manage 
to draw fine, straight lines. I only had time to 
do several sketches before I was swept away 
by the mighty current of the times, of people 
being displaced to the mountains and the 
countryside. I settled down in the Great Nor- 
thern Wilderness in northeast China. 

Like millions of people my age, I witnessed 
countless hardships. Sweat poured down our 
faces to wet the soil. But I never gave up pain- 
ting in my spare time. My first painting was 
an oil, Fertile Soil. Oil painting, I thought, was 
the greatest of the fine arts, and I wished to 
translate into action my dream of equalling 
the world's master oil painters. 

Although my school days were short, my 
teachers had given me the courage to paint. 
However, facilities were very limited, so I 
followed some of my colleagues to take up the 
woodcut knife. Although I knew next to 
nothing about woodcuts, my childish works 
vividly expressed my true feelings. 

The nation was reviving after the downfall of 
the gang of four. Soon the great turning point 
in my life came. In 1978 I was admitted as a 
graduate student into the woodcut depart- 
ment of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. 
At long last, after a lapse of ten years, I was 
pursuing art. 

I systematically studied woodcut techniques, 
and met many people in art circles. As a 
result, my perspective widened. Things that I 
had once treasured lost their value; things 
that I had neglected before began to show 
their charm. At first I lay too much emphasis 
on the technical side, but then I realized that 
technical improvement was not necessarily 
synonymous with artistic attainment. When I 
broke away from the fervent pursuit of techni- 
que, I was able to appreciate the real value of 


+ ti ^ -4: WOMEN OF CHINA + $ ^ -£ 

art. Chinese peasant paintings are unique in 
form and bold in execution. They are free 
from academic rules and can paint with exag- 
geration and variation. Their works are sim- 
ple, emotional, and innocent. In a word, they 
possess strong artistic appeal. I was ready to 
learn from peasant artists. 

Chinese folk art is a huge treasure-house. It 
carries on the tradition of oriental art, and ex- 
presses modern ideas. Humans share common 
feelings and artistic language. Modern masters 
of Western countries, such as Picasso, Matisse 
and Gauguin, deftly blended oriental in- 
fluences into classical creations. 

Creativity depends on an artist's training and 
accomplishment, as well as her or his world 
outlook and feelings. I often fell into reverie, 
searching for the best way to express myself. 
My first works were intuitive and impromptu, 
and therefore they were childish and bore the 
marks of copying. I wanted to establish a style 
of my own, but I had set my target high, and 
it was hard to attain. 

Upon graduation from art college, I worked in 
the studio of the People's Arts Publishing 
House. Here the artists expressed their 
creativity in many forms. Under their in- 
fluence, my style began to change. I did a 
number of woodcuts during visits to the 
Yimeng Mountains in Shandong Province. In 
describing the local scenes and customs, I in- 
troduced folk woodcutting and papercutting 
skills expressing the motifs in a realistic way 
but with a free hand style. In this way, my 
works are done from inspiration. 

But people had different reactions to my pain- 
tings. Some of my classmates from secondary 
school and close friends from the Great Nor- 
thern Wilderness told me that they did not 
understand what I was trying to convey. They 
said that I was doing badly. I was quite at a 
loss. But I persevered. I did not want to con- 
tinue to simply imitate the works of past 
masters. I had to find a way to create 
something new. The world is complex and 
varied and so is artistic style and technique. 
Modern art requires an updating of old con- 
ceptions. Art changes just as society changes. 

I was filled with feelings of uncertainty when I 
presented my most recent works to my au- 
dience. The works are somewhere between 
woodcut and painting. They attracted great 
interest at an exhibition of works by ten 
women artists. 

What I had done was quite simple. But it had 
never been tried by anyone else. Perhaps it 
was because my eyes had caught the beauty of 
the technique. 

I was pleased, but I felt instantly that 
something was missing. The search for a new 
form and the updating of technique are not 
the sole purposes of art. They are only the 
means, the key to a new realm. I was afraid to 
stop at a novel but superficial result. I wanted 
to present my deeper emotion to my audience. 

Art is by no means mysterious, instead it is 
simple and illustrative. Different artistic forms 
all carry their own profound meaning. Art is 
an exchange of intelligence and wit between 
artist and audience. In short, an artist must 
work with her heart and soul to attain the 
highest levels. This is my lifelong aim. 


± jg j$ -k WOMEN OF CHINA <f jg j? jr 

Li Landing 


by Wang De 

Working over the past thirty years with her 
camera, Li Lanying, now nearly fifty, is the 
first woman staff photographer for China Pic- 
torial, a monthly magazine circulated 
throughout China and in many other coun- 

Li Lanying is from a conservative family in 
Beijing where girls were taught to be quite 
delicate and well-versed in etiquette and tradi- 
tional values. But Li rebelled against being 
kept at home. Full of vigor, she studied hard, 
and was determined to have a career the same 
as a man. Her parents finally had to give in 
to their headstrong daughter's wishes. 

In primary school, Li Lanying was inclined 
toward music and art. She sketched, made 
paper kites and cut seals, which drew the at- 
tention of her art teachers. Later, she became 
interested in photography, and while studying 
at college, would often take snapshots of her 
schoolmates although she never considered 

taking up photography as a profession. 

During the '40s, when Li was in secondary 
school, she became acquainted with pro- 
gressive teachers and students, and accepted 
the idea of founding a new China through 
revolution. In early 1949, Beijing was 
liberated, but the war to overthrow the 
Chiang Kai-Shek reactionary regime and 
liberate China was still being waged in many 
other parts of the country. Li Lanying joined 
the revolutionary ranks and went south as a 
member of a cultural and art troupe. 

In the early fifties when China began its 
economic reconstruction, Li Lanying was ask- 
ed to join the staff of the magazine China Pic- 
torial in Beijing where she was given every op- 
portunity to improve her photographic skill 
and where her colleagues encouraged her in 
her profession. Senior photographers were 
especially helpful, telling her their experience 
over the years. Li Lanying carried out her 
assignments well. She photographed women 
embroiderers in factories, busy night scenes at 
the Yellow River Bridge work-site, rural life, 
mural paintings in Han Dynasty tombs, land- 
scapes, flowers, plants, children and stage art. 
She matured professionally through hard 
work and varied experience in life. 

Beginning from 1957, Li Lanying concen- 
trated on depicting stage art. She read literary 
and art books and periodicals, participated in 
art forums, visited theatrical companies, song 
and dance ensembles and orchestras, and 
made friends with the artists and musicians. 
Li became acquainted with not only stage life, 
but also their home and personal life. Keen 
observation and study enabled this woman 
photographer to grasp in an instant an artist's 
characteristic gesture and expression. 

Li often made several visits to photograph one 
play, her husband or secondary school stu- 
dent son helping her carry the equipment to 
and from the theater. Husband and son 
would watch the performances while Li was 
busy with her camera. And this often went 
on night after night. 

Many eager photographers have taken pic- 
tures of the popular folk singer Guo Lanying. 
The singer's favorite, however, is a 
photograph by Li Lanying. It shows Guo 
finishing a song. Her lips are closing, as she 
leans slightly forward, about to leave the 
stage. Li took the picture only after carefully 
watching the singer perform and analyzing 
her artistic presentation. 


^Q-k-k WOMEN OF CHINA ± g 4$ -k 

Li Lanying has done excellent portrayals of 
stage dancers, her photographs being outstan- 
ding not only for technical originality and 
creativeness. There is a poetic mood that ap- 
peals to viewer's aesthetic sense. Her 
photograph entitled Melody displayed at the 
First Asian Photographic Exhibition shows 
the well-known British ballerina Manola 
Asensio during her visit to China. She is 
caught with arms outstretched, dancing in a 
white fluffy skirt like a swan against the dark 
backdrop. Her eyes look appealing and har- 
monize well with the rhythm of her body 
lines. The picture almost suggests the musical 
accompaniment of the dance. 

Another of Li's works, The Painter in His 
Studio, was awarded third prize at the Sixth 
Asian and Oceanic Photographic Contest, 
and The Summer Palace in Rain won second 
prize at the Sino-Japanese Photographic Com- 
petition. Today, Li Lanying is compiling her 
art experience into a book. But she will not 
stop there. She is exploring new ways and 
new ideas in photographic art. 


^ jj jj ^ WOMEN OF CHINA ^ H j? ^T 


by Xiao Ming 

Originally a native of Shanghai, Wang Sux- 
iang, now 60, shows none of the signs of her 
early urban life. Her face is dark and 
weathered from 30 years of hard work in the 
hills of the Northwest. The mountain village 
she lives in, Shenjiashan, is located in one of 
China's most barren areas, the arid land of 
Tongwei County, Gansu Province. Small and 
uncultivable, Shenjiashan is not known even 
by people from its own province. But just 
recently Shenjiashan made the front page of 
the nation's leading newspaper, the People's 
Daily, in a news story on its recent notable 
achievements. In the past, Shenjiashan was an 
area of desolate loess hills, but it now boasts 
of a prosperous grass-covered stock farm with 
many flocks of cattle and sheep; peasants have 
money in their pockets and grain to eat. How 
Shenjiashan found this new prosperity is best 
told through the life story of woman stock 
raiser Wang Suxiang. 

While still in her teens, the war against the 
Japanese invasion forced Wang to leave 
Shanghai along with her school and go to the 
inland city of Chongquing in Sichuan Pro- 
vince. By the time the war ended in 1945, 
Wang was homeless, her father had been kill- 
ed in an air raid. She was reluctant to return 
to Shanghai, so she traveled to the Northwest 
where she thought it would be more peaceful. 

Wang's desire to reconstruct the land 
motivated her to enter the Northwest 
Livestock and Veterinary Institute where she 
majored in animal husbandry. Unfortunately, 
she was expelled by the school authority for 
her political activities promoting progressive 
ideas. When China was liberated in 1949, she 
resumed her studies but two years later she 
had to leave school again to have baby. Wang 
finally finished her university course in 1954. 

Soon after graduation, Wang Suxiang set to 
work. On several different trips with work 
teams, she explored the arid mountain areas 
in central Gansu in order to determine the 
level of development in the more remote 
areas. Wang found the people in Shenjiashan 
short of food and clothes, and illiterate. When 
Wang and the work team arrived, the people 
at the village hoped that the days of terrible 
poverty were over. 

The presence of a young female college 
graduate aroused considerable interest. Wang 
was welcomed at the house of an old Tibetan 
woman. Despite the harsh and backward con- 
ditions, Wang worked hard to earn the 
villagers' trust. During the day, Wang reclaim- 
ed the sand waste and cultivated pastureland 
along with the peasants. At night, she slept 
on an old brick bed with the Tibetan woman. 
The peasants soon looked upon Wang as one 
of the family. 

But the economic development of Shenjiashan 
was not without its problems. Although the 
peasants' living conditions did improve, one 
of the early policies allowed them only to 
reclaim the barren hills for growing grain 
rather than rotating it for pastureland as well. 
Under this policy, the soil became seriously 
eroded and the overworked land only produc- 
ed about 80 catties per mu. With such 
miserable yields more grassland had to be 
reclaimed, causing even greater soil erosion 
and an ecological imbalance. Year after year, 
the villagers had to depend chiefly on relief 
provisions from the state in order to maintain 
a minimum standard of living. So the 
peasants still remained in poverty for almost 
30 years after liberation. Wang was only an 
ordinary member of the work tean. and 
powerless to do anything about what she 
knew to be bad policies, her efforts to change 
the situation proved to be in vain. The situa- 
tion remained the same until 1978 when new 
economic policies were initiated at the na- 
tional level. 

By this time, Wang was 55, and was living in 
the provincial capital of Lanzhou with her 
family. With the policy that supports the 
work of technical experts in modernizing 
China, she could very well have stayed in 
Lanzhou to do research work. She could also 
have chosen to retire into an easy life. But 
Wang was determined to serve the people in 
Shenjiashan that she had come to love with 
what she believed to be the right approach 
but never got the chance to put into effect. 
Without any hesitation, Wang left her family 
for Shenjiashan, some 200 kms. away from 

What Wang found upon her return was a 
rural production team of 28 households, 154 
people in all, owning a plentiful 9 mu per 
capita. Although the land was vast, only a 
small part of it was pastureland, just enough 
for few cattle and sheep to graze on. Most of 


f g j* -£ WOMEN OF CHINA j^j: 

the people there were still working laboriously 
to reclaim low-yield sand waste for the pro- 
duction of grain. At first Wang though that 
growing trees would be a solution but the 
seven or eight years it would take proved to 
be too long. So finally, Wang decided to grow 
sainfoin, a pink-flowered leguminous herb 
that thrives in dry soil and chilly weather. 
With the pastures extended, Wang planned to 
expand the animal husbandry and promote 
forestation and agriculture. Convinced of her 
plan, the villagers used a tractor to reclaim 
200 mu of land for pasture. The grass grew 
rapidly and soon stretched into a large ex- 
panse of grassland. That year, cattle and 
sheep in Shenjiashan were treated to grass 
one month earlier than usual. The grass re- 
mained green until the beginning of winter. 
The peasants were extremely happy. "All 
those years the wheat didn't grow and now 
we have grass in a matter of months!" 

In 1979, Shenjiashan harvested 50,000 catties 
of the fodder grass, enough to last through 
the winter, and successfully kept soil erosion 
in check. The experiment gave Wang the op- 
portunity to teach the peasants the advan- 
tages of planting this type of grass and to 
show them how to grow it. Convinced by the 
success of the experiment, one by one the 
peasants all started to grow grass. From 1980 
to 1982, the team grew sainfoin on 1,000 mu 
of land. 

With so much grassland, the peasants started 
to raise livestock. In the winter of 1980, Wang 
traveled 400 kms. in a truck to buy some fine- 
breed sheep for Shenjiashan. On the way 
back, she got caught in a blizzard. Afraid that 
the lambs might get sick, Wang and the other 
villagers with her squeezed themselves bet- 
ween the lambs to protect them from the 
wind. By the time they reached Shenjiashan, 
Wang was covered with snow. The whole 
village was grateful to Wang once again. After 
three years of hard work, the team's sheep in- 
creased from 77 in 1979 to 180, and its cattle 
from 29 to 54. 

Along with the production of grass, cattle, 
and manure, rotating the growing of grass 
and grain also increased the output of grain. 
But Shenjiashan still must contend with the 
harsh climate. In 1982 a drought caused a 
failure of crop yields, but the grass still grew 
well. By selling grass seeds and livestock pro- 
ducts, the village earned an income of 5,000 
yuan. On average, each family got a share of 

184 yuan that year. The day the annual ac- 
counts were distributed was a real holiday for 
Shenjiashan. With cash in their hands, old 
peasants expressed their gratitude, "Teacher 
Wang has been with us through thick and 
thin and we are very grateful." Although 
Shenjiashan has only been planting this new 
grass and raising cattle for four years, its 
future looks even more prosperous. 

Wang Suxiang knows that she will not be 
able to live in Shenjiashan forever. Its future 
must now depend even more on the creativity 
of the local people. She has been teaching 
some young people the scientific and technical 
skills needed to grow sainfoin. Wang also had 
helped the village set up a literacy class, mak- 
ing it possible to bring science and culture to 
the inaccessible mountain village. 

In the arid mountain region of Gansu Pro- 
vince, Shenjiashan has blazed a trail that 
Wang hopes others can follow. Traveling 
along the mountain paths of Tongwei Coun- 
ty, she is working arduously to spread the ex- 
perience of Shenjiashan. Wherever she goes, 
she leaves behind large stretches of lush 
grassland, symbolizing the hope Shenjiashan 
gives to other such villages throughout the 



a. 5. 

Miranda P. Chow 


by Professor Kuosen Ho 

%&$}'■&. & "Ascending the Heron Tower" 

The sun recedes behind the western mountains 
EJ El Ifc iii %. The Yellow River flows on to the sea 
■f( y"f A- y$ $L V 3' 0M want t0 see a full thousand miles, 
&fr i? "f" JL 3 C/imb one more story of this tower. 

0LX— % & Wang Zhihuan, (688-748) 

Poet of the Tang Dynasty 

When my wife gives voice training and vocal lec- 
tures to her students, she selects both bel canto 
and traditional classic songs, both foreign and 
Chinese songs. She, Maranda P. Chow, is 64 
years of age now but her level of energy and 
vibrant health still prove her youthful strength. 
She is a coloratura soprano soloist and vocal 
teacher in the famous Shanghai Philharmonic 
Society in Shanghai, China, where she has been 
for more than thirty years. 

When journalists visit her in her studio or 
home, she is reluctant, for reasons of modesty, 
to describe her life in music. However, if the 
story of her life in music is sought as an example 
of women's creative accomplishments, then she 
is very willing to talk to you about herself, as 
her case may be typical. 

As a child I loved the many busy activities of 
my life at home and school: musical and 
physical exercise and mathematics. Professor 
Chia Yuanbai, a famous educator, was the 
founder of our Aiguo (patriotism) Girls Middle 
School in Shanghai. Our teachers promoted the 
new educational system and we were exposed to 
a wide variety of activities." Miranda was a 
short-distance runner and a member of the 
school basketball team. She was nurtured and 
influenced by her music teacher, Tsu Monghun, 

in Middle School, and later by the choral direc- 
tor of the church choir. She early realized that 
music was to be her life and that her talent lay 

During the war with Japan she passed the en- 
trance examination to the National Chungking 
Conservatory of Music. By that time she had 
already been involved with many musical ac- 
tivities, both in relation to the war effort and as 
social events. At the Conservatory, she rose ear- 
ly in the morning and worked until late at 
night. Morning and night, she performed her 
vocal and piano exercises. Her parents could not 
provide financial support for books or in- 
struments. She had to do it herself, using her 
self-reliance and resourcefulness. She provides 
evidence that talent and hard work will not go 
unrecognized nor unrewarded in our country. 
Her vocal teacher recommended her for the part 
of Princess Yugon in the Chinese opera, "Herd- 
sman Suwu." She scored great success in her 
performance as an opera singer. But she never 
forgot the lines of Wang Zhihuan: 

"If you want to see a full thousand miles, 
Climb one more story of this tower." 

She enrolled in a series of music courses at the 
Shanghai Conservatory of Music and graduated 
with honors. 

After her graduation she taught music in a 
Shanghai Middle School, then transferred to the 
Shanghai Philharmonic Society, formerly the 
Eastern China Philharmonic Society, in 
Shanghai. Her performances were always en- 
thusiastically welcomed whether from the stages 
of music halls or in factories, on farms, or at 
military bases. Special favorites were songs as 
"Singjiang Province is Good and Beautiful!" and 
"When Cassia Blooms, Fortune Comes" which 
she sang in China, Korea, Burma, India, In- 
donesia and Macau to fantastic receptions. 

After the "cultural revolution" she recovered her 
musical life and regained her strength — it was 
her nature to be energetic and op- 
timistic—although she had been through a terri- 
ble time. She sang in the Spring Festival of 1977 
after a long absence from the stage during the 
years of turmoil. Her swift recovery was due to 
the fundamental soundness of the training and 
cultivation of her adolescent years. "Now, my se- 
cond life of music begins!" she said happily to 
me and to her colleagues. 

Since this new beginning she has performed 
hundreds of recitals. On National Day, 1982, 
the Shanghai Broadcasting Station and 
Shanghai TV carried her coloratura perfor- 


mances of "Ah, je ris de me voir" (the "Jewel 
Song" of Faust by Gounod), "Quande men vo 
soletta per la via" ("Through the street" from 
Puccini's La Boheme), and arias from the light 
opera, The Merry Widow. The sustained and 
tumultuous applause provided recognition and 
encouragement for an artist who was no longer 

There are many people hoping to learn classical 
music from experts such as Maranda. The 
Shanghai Philharmonic Society established the 
Shanghai Music School and appointed Maranda 
principal and vocal teacher, a post she has held 
for three years. As the number of her students 
increases and her administrative duties multiply, 
she also takes on side jobs with the China socie- 
ty of Musicians, the Shanghai Women's Associa- 
tion, and others. She also belongs to the 
Shanghai Association of Elderly Sportspeople! 
Busy as she is, she takes time to sing, write, 
discuss with everyone — young and old, Chinese 
and foreigners — with enthusiasm. When people 

ask her, "How can you do all this and do it so 
well?" she replies, "My strength comes from the 
original source of my music — my beloved people 
and my native land. And I exercise daily, both 
morning and night: Tai Chi, short races, and of 
course vocal exercises every day." 

After her routines and social activities, she can 
still arrange time for her family and household 
chores and can combine these with her profes- 
sional duties quite well. She likes to read foreign 
literature and daily newspapers and to discuss 
them with her husband and sons. She cor- 
responds with her beloved daughter, Lily, who is 
studying at the California Art Institute in Los 
Angeles. She feels that she has had a very full 
and rich musical life. She feels optimistic and 
prosperous, like the famous Chinese poet Liu 
Yuxi (772- 842) of the Tang Dynasty: 

"Don't say the season is too late 

for mulberry and elm to bloom. 
The evening sky is full of rosy clouds." 




by Ji Di Chen, M.D. 

I became involved with sports medicine when I 
selected the research proposal for my post 
graduate thesis. My tutor, Professor Xi Xuan Yu, 
encouraged me to conduct the research project 
on "Vitamin C Requirement of Athletes." 
Through that research, I realized how important 
nutrition is in developing sports ability and per- 
sonal health. After completing my post graduate 
thesis, I was selected by Professor Mien Yu Qu, 
pioneer in Chinese sports medicine and director 
of the Institute of Sports Medicine at the Beijing 
Medical University, to join his faculty and begin 
research in sports nutrition and biochemistry. 
After only a few years of research, I fell in love 
with my work. I enjoy my research subjects: 
they always are full of vitality. I also enjoy my 
laboratory experiments, the statistical analysis, 
and writing up my results. Because I love all the 
work related to research, I decided to devote my 
lifetime efforts to sports nutrition and 
biochemistry, an open research area in China. 

I am a very self-confident and strong-charactered 
woman. I resolved to be highly educated when I 
was a child. I believe that where there is a will 
there is a way. While I was a freshman student 
in the Peking Union Medical College, my father 
decided to move the family from Shanghai to 
Hong Kong and asked me to join them. I refused 
to move with the rest of the family and endured 
the hardships of being alone only because I did 
not want to discontinue my study in the college. 

I married at the age of 28, which is considered 
late in China. When I began work in the In- 
stitute of Sports Medicine, my first son was only 
three months old. There were actually some con- 
tradictions between my dedication to research 
and the family's life. Since I have a strong will 
to succeed in my work, I was not always satisfied 
even when I put all my energy into the work. 
However, I also had to face practical family life 
and my responsibilities to it. My husband also is 
very busy since he is the director of the En- 
vironmental Toxicology Department (in the Beij- 
ing Medical University), a new and important 
area of study in China. Because we both have 
professional responsibilities, we realized that the 
only way to operate our home was to coordinate 
our joint efforts very closely. He never complains 
when I have to work hard and go home late. 
Sometimes when I have to carry out some ex- 
periments or write papers on Sundays, he kindly 
does the shopping and takes care of the 

children. Of course, when he is busy, I take the 
responsibility of the house work on my own in- 
itiative. We share not only the house work and 
children's care, but also the happiness and wor- 
ries — in fact, we share everything. I often think 
that if married people can deal adequately with 
the relationship of family and work, it will 
benefit both the family's life and the couple's 
business. I am proud of my ideal husband, and I 
enjoy the sincere equality in the family's life. I 
wish every woman in the world could enjoy a 
similar situation. 

I am so happy to be Chinese and live in the 
country which we call the "Scientific Spring." 
Our government pays great attention to people's 
health and sports; but during the Cultural 
Revolution, things were confused. The Institute 
of Sports Medicine was closed. I moved to Gan 
Su province to work and served as a doctor of 
internal medicine in a local area hospital for 
more than three years. I am unable to express 
how much I missed my research at that period 
of time. Fortunately, the Institute of Sports 
Medicine reopened again (after the Cultural 
Revolution) by Premier Zhou's instruction and 
because of his concern for sports medicine. I was 
very delighted to return to my position. 

After returning to Beijing (when the Institute 
reopened) I worked very hard to '.ecover the lost 
research time. I established the laboratories of 
sports nutrition and biochemistry, and com- 
pleted a series of research studies which are con- 
sidered to be of some practical value. I often try 
to focus my main attention on research related 
to athletes' real needs such as adequate methods 
of weight control, functional evaluation, sports 
anemia, etc. Through years of effort I gained 
fruitful results. As a consequence, I was honored 
and awarded the title "Advanced Researcher of 
Sports Sciences" in November 1984. 

I am very pleased about the current open 
policies and the enhancement of international 
exchanges. As a consequence, I have had oppor- 
tunities to participate in international academic 
conferences and join study groups going to 
western Europe. During the last few years, I 
have visited several countries (Italy, USA, 
Sweden, Denmark, and Romania). I became my 
country's representative to the Research Group 
on Biochemistry of Exercise which is part of the 
Research Committee of the International Coun- 
cil of Sports and Physical Education at 

These appointments and international travels 
made it possible to refresh my knowledge and 


become acquainted with many foreign friends. In 
turn, many friends from abroad came to visit me 
in China. The international academic exchanges 
are both helpful for the progress of Sports 
Medicine in China and beneficial to interna- 
tional sports events. Besides, they facilitate the 
friendship between scholars in China and other 

I became a scientist not only due to my own ef- 
forts, but also because of the very important role 
my government played in improving the position 
of women. Guidance from my teacher and 
senior colleagues and my successful marriage 
partnership helped too. 

After this brief review of my personal ex- 
periences, I look forward, full of confidence, to 
my life and my work. I wish that all the women 
in the world may enjoy true equality in family 
life and success in their life, business, and com- 

)i Di Chen, M.D., is associated with the Research 
Division of Sports Nutrition and Biochemistry at the 
Institute of Sports Medicine, Beijing Medical 
University of Beijing, China. 

A woman teacher coaches the school's callisthenics group. 

photo by Li Taihang 




An Annotated and Selected Bibliography, Compiled by Catherine Olson 

Originally, I had planned to develop an annotated and selected bibliography featuring autobiographies and biographies of Women in China, but through my 
research, I also found numerous writings from a sociological view point on women in the Chinese society. I prepared the autobiographies and biographies 
bibliography with an added selected readings list on women in Chinese society; most of these titles were written after the Revolution in 1949, when women 
were emancipated. 

The bibliography also includes two fiction works and one study on the Chinese custom of footbinding. The two fiction works, Born of the Same Roots; Stones of 
Modern Chinese Women and Seven Contemporary Writers, present remarkable stories of women and their everyday struggles. I included these two works because 
"literature is the flesh and breath to the bare bones of history" and "fiction reflected mind and soul of society" (Born of the Same Roots, edited by Vivian Ling 
Hsu). These two works related well to the physical, mental, and emotional lives of the numerous Chinese women authors that I have read. 

Chinese Footbinding by Dr. Howard S. Levy was included because the custom played a vital part in the problem of the position and role of women in China. I 
believe that a book detailing the origins and history of this ancient custom, which lasted for more than a thousand years, has a definite place in a bibiliography 
on Women in China. 

The autobiographies and biographies span the years 495 B.C. to the present time. They include memoirs and observances of American and British women who 
traveled in China as well as works by Chinese women, and they encompass lives of dowagers, courtesans, educators, concubines and warriors. This 
bibliography offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of Women in China from before Christ to modern times. 

Bland, J.O.P. and E. Backhouse. China Under The Empress Dowager: Being the History of the Life and Times of Tzu Hsi. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 

Compiled from state papers and the private diary of the comptroller of her household. This story is an enthralling narrative of the vicissitudes of feeling 
and policy in the Forbidden City at the time of the Boxer rising and the attacks on the legations in Peking. It gives an exciting look into the enigmatic 
character of the Empress Dowager Tzu-Hsi. 

Born of the Same Roots; Stories of Modern Chinese Women; edited by Vivian Ling Hsu. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981. 

Translations of nineteen short stories from the May Fourth period, two decades of war and revolution in the 1930s— 40s, and post-1949 China. The 
selections come from a group of Chinese writers, both male and female in the People's Republic of China, Taiwan and other countries. The issues rele- 
vant to women's lives in twentieth-century China have been amply and dramatically brought to life in literature by women writers who have a natural 
propensity to portray themselves and also by male writers who recognized that their own lives are inseparable from those of the women around them, 
and whose insight into women's problems and psyche are in many cases acutely penetrating. Each selection focuses on the lives of women, who are 
resilient individuals with a great strength to survive and at times to triumph, despite what seem unreasonable odds. 

Chao, Buwei Yang. Autobiography of a Chinese Woman, English translation by her husband Yuenren Chao. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1^70, 

Covers a span of 56 years from the author's birth in 1889 in Nanking, in a 128 room house with four generations living there, to V-J Day in 1945 in 
Greensboro, Vermont. The author gives a colorful description of oriental customs, especially pertaining to funerals, weddings and her own education. 
She recalls having to study Women Classic in which the chief theme was to make a woman know her place of unimportance. However, this unusual 
woman was lucky to have a liberal grandfather and she grew up to be an unconventional person in a conventional world. 

Cooper, Elizabeth. M} Lady of the Chinese Courtyard. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1914. 

Compilation of letters written by Kwei-li, the wife of a very highly placed Chinese official, to her husband when he accompanied his master, Prince 
Chung, on a trip around the world. Probably late 1800s. Kwei-li was the daughter of a viceroy of Chih-li, a man most advanced for his time and one of 
the founders of the educational movement in China. 

Crawford, Martha F. The Chinese Bride: A Story of Real Life. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, nd. 

Story of Sue May Lee gives a vivid picture of what life for a well-to-do Chinese girl was like in the 1800s. Sue May's feet were bound at the age of five 
and matrimonial arrangements were made for her the same year. She in turn marries and becomes a slave to her mother-in-law. Later Sue May is in- 
troduced to the Christian faith and becomes a Christian. 

Cusack, Dymphna. Chinese Women Speak. London. Agness and Robertson, Ltd. 1959. 

Personal narrative of the author's travel in China in the late 1950s with vivid descriptions of women she met during her travels. She characterizes 
Chinese women involved in a great socialist movement and fighting successfully against the influence of 2500 years of eminent suppression. Her sketches 
range from the Empress Dowager's Lady-in-Waiting to Shu-fing, an ex-concubine. 

Ekelund, Karl. M> Chinese Wife. New York: Doubleday, 1945. 

The author is a young Danish newspaper correspondent who falls in love with a beautiful Chinese girl in Peking. The story interprets the customs and 
culture of the Chinese race to the people of the author's race. 

Franking, Mae T. M> Chinese Marriage. New York: Duffield and Company, 1922. 

Personal account of an American woman's life in China, her struggles to adapt to the Chinese strict social code in Shanghai, the acceptance by her in- 
laws of the marriage, and her stay with her Chinese mother-in-law. 


Hahn, Emily. The Soong Sisters. New York: Doubleday, Daran and Company, 1941. 

Story of the lives of three famous Chinese women, Mme Sun Yat-sen, widow of the father of the Chinese revolution; Mme Kung, wife of China's finan- 
cial wizard; and Mme Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the Generalissimo. The book begins with the story of Charlie Soong, the sisters' father, his associations 
with America and his friendship and collaboration with Sun Yat-sen. The book relates informally the story of the Chinese revolution, the organization 
of the Republic of China and the parts played by various members of the family. 

Han Suyin. Birdless Summer, China; Autobiography, History. New York: G.P. Putnam, 1969. 

A continuation of the author's autobiography which began with The Crippled Tree and A Mortal Flower. This spans the years 1938 to 1949 when she 
returned from medical studies in Europe to Japanese-occupied China. The book describes Chin's struggle with the new society and move toward Com- 
munism. The author also relates her marriage to a British Army officer ambitious for his place in Chiang Kai-shek's government. Suyin Han accounts 
for the course of events that leads her back to Europe where she becomes a doctor and a writer. 

Han Suyin. The Crippled Tree: China, Biography, History, Autobiography. New York: G.P. Putnam, 1965. 

An autobiography of the authors' early years to 1928. Born to a European mother and a Chinese father, the author describes the tension of her family 
life and the collapse of Chinese society. A neverending struggle to resolve the conflict between widely divergent elements in her own background 
reflects the same conflict which China itself faces between an ancient Eastern tradition and the sudden confrontation of modern western civilization. 
This historical description explains why China was so ripe for a revolution. 

Han Suyin. A Mortal Flower: China, Autobiography, History. New York: G.P. Putnam, 1966. 

Second installment of the author's biography covers the years 1928 to 1938. A continuation of the author's coming to grip with her Chinese/European 
parentage and cultural clash. Her determination to study medicine led her to Yin Chin University, to Brussels and later to London. The historical por- 
tion discusses the split between the Kuomintang and the communists and the Japanese invasion of China. 

Hibhert, Eloise Talcott. Embroidered Gauze: Portraits of Famous Chinese Ladies. New York: Dutton, 1938. 

Recreates the stories of eleven Chinese historical women who as wives, concubines, courtesans or empresses achieved supreme power and left the mark 
of their personalities upon their times. These life stories cover a span of 2,500 years of Chinese history. 

Hsieh, Ping-ying. Girl Rebel: Autobiography; With Extracts from Her New War diaries; translated by Adet &. Anov Lin; with an introduction by Lin Yutang. New 
York: John Day Company, 1940. 

The author of this autobiography is a young Chinese woman who before she was twenty rebelled against the old customs — against footbinding arranged 
marriage, virtual imprisonment in the home and all the feudalistic conventions of her generation. Hsieh was born in warlike Hunan in 1910 to an old 
liberal scholar and a domineering, conservative mother. To avoid a prearranged marriage she joined the northern forces in the Kuomintang revolution 
in 1927. This book contains a translation of her autobiography and the New War Diary which she began at Shanghai. At the time of printing she was 
in active service at the Hupeh front. 

Kingston, Maxtne Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. New York: Knopf, 1976. 

The author is a Chinese-American born in California during World War II to recent immigrants. As a young girl she was haunted by two sets of ghosts. 
The first were ancestral figures from Chinese village life handed down in cautionary tales by her mother. The second set were the white American 
ghosts: Policemen Ghosts, Social Work Ghosts, Garbage Ghosts, Wino Ghosts — the patterns of the West. 

Levy, Howard, Chinese Footbinding: The History of a Curious Erotic Custom. New York. Walton Rawls, 1966. 

A study of the origins and history of Chinese footbinding. The author has done significant work in uncovering detailed descriptions of this ancient 
custom by young ladies who had their feet bound. Older women describe the painful operation of freeing their feet after many years of binding. 

Lives: Chinese Working Women. Edited by Mary Sheridan and Janet W. Salaff. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984. 

Through the use of life histories which are autobiographical or biographical in nature reported through oral and written documentation, the authors 
present older women whose lives were rooted in China before 1949, lives of younger women in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and lives of women of China 
in revolution and reconstruction. 

Llewellyn, Bernard. China's Courts and Concubines. London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd. 1956. 

Fourteen sketches of men and women in Chinese history. These fourteen lives are not a representative cross section of men and women who have 
figured in China's past, but r.uher they are people who interested the author. 

Moredeed, Hasna Jasinsuddin. Women in China: New Delhi: Vikas Publishing, 1980. 

A personal account of the author's experience and the women she met as she traveled throughout China in 1978. 

Nan-Hua, Chen, pseud of Zen, Mes Heng - Che (Ch'en) Autobiography of a Chinese Young Girl. No publication information. 

The author describes her chief purposes of this volume: "to furnish China's friends with some reading matter which could at least claim to be genuine 
and sincere and to beg the world to listen to those Chinese who are trying to change the Chinese cultural 6k social attitudes." She discusses footbin- 
ding, her immediate family, her education, her attendance at the medical school for girls, her travels in China, and her life as a teacher. 

Ning, Lao T'ai-t'ai. A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman, by Ida Pruitt, from the story told by Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai. Stanford, 
California: Stanford University Press, 1967 (cl945). 

An intimate story of a working woman and her day to day struggles against forces of economic pressure. The author tells the story in a manner which 
gives a sense of the Chinese acceptance of poverty, war and diseases and an understanding of the effort it would take to change that acceptance. 

O'Hara, Albert Richard. The Position of Women in Early China: According to Lieh Nu Chuman's The Biographies of Chinese Women". Taipai, Taiwan: Mei Ya 
Publications, 1971. 

A translation of The Biographies of Chinese Women that provides a wealth of material on early Chinese culture, Chinese society and family life. This was 
originally compiled by Liu Hsiang of the Han Dynasty 80-90 B.C. 


Pruitt, Ida. Old Madam Yin: A Memoir of Peking Life, 1929-38. Stanford California: Stanford University Press, 1979. 

A personal account of the day-to-day events of the old multifamily household, its attitudes, indulgences and delights are all described to make the 
reader understand that vanished era. 

Sansan. Eighth Moon: The True Story of a Young Girl's Life in Communist China: by Sansan as told to Bette Lord. New York: Harper and Row, 1964. 

The story of a small girl who was left behind in China after her family accepts an assignment in the United States in 1946. The communist revolution 
made this situation permanent and Sansan is raised by foster parents. She describes the hardships and disappointments over the years as she becomes 
almost a slave to her adopted family. She details how future success in school depends upon political acceptability. Volunteer labor on farms, smelting 
scrap iron, and spending hours in line for rationed food were all part of her tedious life under totalitarian rule. In 1962, Sansan was reunited with her 
family in the United States. 

Snow, Helen Foster. My China Years: A Memoir. New York: William Morrow, 1984. 

"The Reminiscences of an Extraordinary Woman who Observed Firsthand the Revolutionary Birth of a Modern Nation". The memoirs of a remarkable 
woman who arrived in Shanghai in 1931 to be a clerk in the American Consulate General. The author describes her romance and marriage to Edgar 
Snow, their life in Peking and her travels to Yinan to meet Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai and their comrades-in-arms after the Long March. She lived 
among them for four months and returned to Peking with material to write her classic Inside Red China. She, along with her husband and Rewi Aley, 
founded the system of industrial cooperatives that spread throughout China and India. Her story ends with her return to America in 1940. 

Spence, Jonathan D. The Death of Woman Wang. New York: Viking Press, 1978. 

The setting is in T'an-Ch'eng in the province of Shantung between 1668-1672. This book tells the stories of four crises that happen to farmers, farm- 
workers, and their wives who had no connections to help them in time of trouble or any organization to lean up on. It frequently shows the dilemma of 
Chines women caught between the ideal behavior and the struggle of rural life. 

Swann, Nancy Lee. Pan Chao: Foremost Woman Scholar of China. New York: The Century Company, 1932. 

Relates the background, ancestry, life and courtings of the most celebrated Chinese woman of letters, Pan Chao, Ts'ao Ta-ku of the court of the Eastern 
Han Empress Ho (89-105 A.D.). This is a scholarly written text that unveils the talents of this remarkable woman who was chosen to occupy the post of 
historian to the Imperial Court of China. Pan Chao was also teacher to the young empress and her ladies-in-waiting. This study incorporates her 
writings, poetry and philosophy. 

Vare, Danielle. The Last Empress. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Daran and Company, 1938. 

The biography of Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi who held the fate of China in her hands for more than a half a century. It tells her achievements and her 
failures: how she lost all because, although she knew her own people, Tzu Hsi knew nothing of the barbarians who lived beyond the four seas. Her last 
words were, "Never again allow a woman to hold the supreme power in the state. It is against the house law of our dynasty and should be forbidden. 
Be careful not to allow eunuchs to meddle in government matters. The Ming dynasty was brought to ruin by eunuchs and its fate should be a warning 
to my people." 

Wieke, Roxane. Conrade Chiang Ch'ing. Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown and Company, 1977. 

A biography of Chiang Ch'ing, Mao Tse-tungs' fourth wife which spans the years from Chiangs' torturous childhood to her overthrow as doyenne of 
proletarian culture. In a series of interviews with the author, Chiang describes the violent images of her youth; the perilous mes of warlordism and im- 
perialism; her life as an actress and political worker in Shanghai; her role in the Cultural Revolution; her marriage to a supreme leader; and finally the 
unabashed pursuit of power in her own right which led to her imprisonment in October 1976. "Sex is engaging in the first rounds, but what sustains 
interest in the long run is power.". . .Comrade Chiang Ch'ing. 

Wong, Su-Ling and Cressy, Earl Herbert. Daughter of Confucius: A personal history. New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1952. 

A narrative that is the intimate story of a girl growing up in a Chinese household of fifty-one persons which is ruled by the punctilio of the Confucian 
code. A very unusal and informative autobiography. Names of persons and places were changed to protect the writer's privacy. 

Wu Shu-Chiung (Mrs. Wu Lien-teh). Chao Chun: Beauty in Exile. Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, Ltd. 1934. 

Story of Chao Chun, born in the twenty-first year of the reign of Hsiian Ti, delicately nurtured in the sheltered seclusion of her parental home. Later 
she was obliged to marry a Tartar Chieftain and pass fifty years of her life beyond the confines of her native land. Despite her uprooted existence she 
remained devoted to the country of her birth. 

Wu Shu Chiung (Mrs. Wu Lien-Leh). Hsi Shih: Beauty of Beauties, A Romance of Ancient China. (About 495-472 B.C.) Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, Ltd. 1931. 

Story of Hsi Shih, a remarkable woman who played an important part of the history of the kingdoms of Wu and Yueh. This is an outstanding example 
of a woman's beauty swaying the destiny of nations. 

Wu Shu Chiung (Mrs. Wu Lien-Leh). The Most Famous Beauty of China.: The Story of Yang Kuei-fei. New York: S. Appleton, 1924. 

Yang Kuei-fei lived in the time of the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-905) and for twenty years was the undisputed mistress of the imperial court. Her talents 
as a musician, singer and dancer were unsurpassed. The author vividly describes the elegance of court in China during the eighth century when the 
Tang dynasty was at the height of its prosperity. 

Zhijuan, Ru etal. Seven Contemporary Women Writers. Beijing: Panda, 1982. (Introduction by: Gladys Yang; Stories by: Ru Zhijuan, Huang Zongying, Zong Pu, 
Shen Rong, Zhang Jie, Zhang Kang Kang, and Wang Anyi) 

A selection of stories by seven contemporary Chinese women writers who present a good cross section of life in China and who write mainly about the 
latter part of the seventies. Each story is set with the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution which disrupted so many Chinese lives. 


Andors, Phyllis. The Unfinished Liberation of Chinese Women. 1949-1980. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983. 

A description of the women of China and their struggles, accomplishments and persistent problems over the past thirty years. 


Ayscough, Florence. Chinese Women: Yesterday and Today. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1937. 

Description of Chinese women incorporating folk songs, poetry and Chinese teachings. The author compares and contrasts such subjects as girlhood, 
marriage, education and professions from a viewpoint of the ancient past with the time of the author's writing. She points out remarkable women excell- 
ing in their various fields of interest, such as Pan Chao, the educator and Hau Mu-Lan, the warrior. 

Belden, Jack. China Shakes the World. Introduction by Owen Lattimore. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970, (cl949). 

An explanation of why Chiang Kai-shek declined in four years from undisputed ruler of China to a fugitive on the island of Formosa. A large section of 
the book, Part X, details the pain, anguish and despair of Chinese women during the Kuomintang party reign and how the Communist Party encourag- 
ed those feelings to incite a revolution. 

Boggs, Lucienda. Chinese Womanhood. Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1913. 

Discusses womanhood, motherhood, the position of the wife, and priestesses in China. Throughout the book the author cites various women and lives 
they led in ancient China. Slanted toward Christianity vs. Buddhism. 

Broyelle, Claudie. Women's Liberation in China. With a Preface by Han Suejin, Translated from the French by Mirhele Cohen and Gary Herman. Atlantic 
Highlangs, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1977, (c 1937). 

A study of the Chinese emancipation of women based on the author's 1971 trip to China. Contains anecdotoes and vivid life stories to illustrate the 
struggle of women in China in their search to transform society and themselves. The author has outlined orientations and trends in the liberation of 
Chinese women into five parts which treat the economic, domestic, material, familial and sexual aspects of women's oppression in the capitalist world 
and the progress made. 

Croll, Elizabeth. Chinese Women Since Mao. London: Zed Books, Ltd. 1983. 

Defines the role and status of women in China in the last thirty years and the changes that have taken place. 

Croll, Elizabeth, Feminism and Socialism in China. New York: Schocken Books, 1980. 

A study of the bond of feminism and socialism and the significance of each toward the redefinition of the role and status of women in twentieth cen- 
tury China. The author analyzes the influence of feminism on the Chinese village life, the work environment, home life and on the Communist Party. 
It is a description of the emancipation of Chinese women during the last century. 

Croll, Elizabeth. Women in Rural Development: The People's Republic of China. Geneva: International Labour Office, 1977. 
A research of the economic and social factors determining the conditions of life of rural women in China. 

Croll, Elizabeth. The Women's Movement in China: A Selection of Readings 1949-1973. Nottingham: Russell Press Limited, 1974. 

An anthology of readings on the structure, working methods, and goals of women's movement in China after the establishment of the People's Republic 
of China in 1949. 

Curtin, Katie, Women In China. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1974. 
A sociological and historical overview of women in China. 

Davin, Delia. Women-work: Women and the Party Revolutionary China. New York: Oxford, 1976. 

A detailed description of the social changes that occurred in China, 1930-1950. The author studies the difficulties of introducing a new style of marriage 
to the conservative country. She describes Chinese women as they become involved in organizations, land reform and educational systems. 

Endicott, Mary Austin. Five Stars Over China: The Story of our Return to New China. Toronto, Canada; published by the author, 1953. 

Observations of a missionary's wife on returning to China in 1952 after five years absence. The author gathered her information through interviews 
with businessmen, government leaders, Christians, peasants, trade unionists and teachers. She discusses the contrast of the new China to the old China. 
She describes the health services, the clean-up campaign and land reform and how those changes affect the peasants and their way of life. The influence 
of the new China is also looked at from a capitalistic perspective. Education, love, marriage and family are other topics compared and contrasted in pre- 
and post revolution days. Endicott also tells the story of Green Jade, a young girl, and the changes the revolution made in her life. 

Johnson, Kay Ann. Women, The Family and Peasant Revolution in China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. 

A study that examines the policies and changes concerning women that have developed in the countryside under Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 
leadership during the revolutionary and post revolutionary periods. The primary focus is on reform of marriage and the family. Both have defined and 
shaped women's place in Chinese society more than any other single set of factors. The prerevolutionary setting is discussed followed by breakdown of 
the years 1921-49, 1950-53, and 1955-80, and women's position during each of these time spans. 

Kristera, Julia. About Chinese Women, translated from the French by Anita Barrows Dutton, 1977. 
A study of the historical background and current status of women in China. 

McNabb, R.L. Women of the Middle Kingdom. Cincinnati, Ohio: Jennings and Pye, 1903. 

A description of the condition of women of China in 1800s. Many of their customs, both social and religious are explained. The author, formerly a mis- 
sionary in China, discusses the trials of childhoold and youth (infanticide), women's status in the home and society, prearranged marriages, and the 
houses in which Chinese women live. 

Sidel, Ruth. Women and Child Care in China. New York: Hill & Wang, 1972. 

The author, a pyschiatric social worker, concentrates on the role of women, the care of children, and medicine in China and compares life in China in 
the 60s and 70s with that of the "bitter past" prior to the revolution in 1949. She describes China as a poor country without beggars, where the 
necessities but few conveniences are provided. The author studies the equality for women in China, the care of Chinese children and the communica- 
tion of a system of values from one generation to another. 


Sidel, Ruth. Women and Child Care in China: A First Hand Report. Revised edition. Middlesex, England: Peguin, 1982. 

A revised issue of the 1972 work of a sociological study of Child Care in China. The author also discusses the dramatic changes that have occured in the 
revulsion against the Cultural Revolution. 

Siu, Bobby, Women of China: Imperialism and Women's Resistance, 1900-49. Totowa, New Jersey: Biblio Distribution Center, 1982. 
A study of the women's movement in China from 1900-1949. 

Snow, Helen Foster. Women in Modem China. The Hague': Moulton and Co., 1967. 

A study of the sociological status of women in China and their emancipation. Covers from the T'aip'ing to the 1911 Revolution and from the May 4th 
Movement in 1919 to the Communes. Discusses mariage, divorce and property rights, of women. Gives biographical sketches of such women as Madam 
Feng Yu-hsiang, the Soong Daughters, Madam Sun Yat-sen and Madam Chiang Kai-shek. 

Smedley, Agnes, Portraits of Chinese Women in Revolution, edited with an introduction by Jan McKinnon and Steve MacKinnon with an afterward by Florence 
Howe. Old Westbury, New York: Feminist Press, 1976. 

Sketches of the struggles of eighteen women in the context of the social and political movements from 1929 to 1940 in China. A good study of the 
Chinese Revolution from the Chinese women's point of view. 

Stacey, Judith. Patriarchy and Socialist Revolution in China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. 

This book is primarily about the family and revolution in China. The author states that despite significant progress Chinese women have made over 
their prerevolutionary status, Chinese women still endure educational, economic, political and cultural inequities. She discusses the basic principles of 
the traditional Confucian social and family structure; the social revolutionary crisis in China as a family crisis; and origins and development of the Peo- 
ple's War and how this changed the family. The author points out that China's women have seen little change in the liberation of women in Post-Mao 

Wolf, Margery. Women and The Family m Rural Taiwan. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1972. 

In this study of Taiwanese country women, the author follows their life cycle. From interviews of numerous people the author collected in the '50s and 
'60s, she explains the training of Taiwanese children, educational practices and compares love marriages to arranged marriages. The author endeavors to 
present the realities of the women of Taiwan from an anthropological viewpoint. 

Yao, Esther S. Lee. Chinese Women: Past and Present. Mesquite, Texas: Ide House, 1983. 
A historical study of Chinese Women spanning 208 B.C. to modern times. 

Yueh-Hwa, Lin. The Go/den Wiong: A Sociological Study of Chinese Families. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1974, 1947. 

A sociological study written in the form of a novel. It is an analysis of two families, the house of Hwang and the house of Chiang, living side by side in 
a Fu Kien village and related by kinship and business interests. One family continues to prosper through adversity while the other first flourishes and 
then declines. A study of Chinese family life rigidly restrained from personal exuberance by rules of politeness, filial obedience, respect for old age, and 
other social and ritual conventions. 




Hualing Nieh 

Hualing Nieh 

New World Press, Beijing, China 

by Carolyn Carmichael 

Hualing Nieh, the author of Two Women of 
China, was herself born in China, took a degree 
in Foreign Literature at National Central 
University in Nanking, was for eleven years 
editor of Free China Fortnightly in Taiwan until 
it was closed down by the Kuomingtang govern- 
ment, after which she taught Creative Writing 
and Modern Literature at Taiwan University. In 
1964 she went as visiting artist to The Writer's 
Workshop at the University of Iowa where she 
earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. With Paul 
Engle she started the International Writing Pro- 
gram at the University and in 1971 she was mar- 
ried to him. At the time of publication of this 
book (1981) she was Professor of Letters at Iowa, 
had published thirtee- books in ten countries, 
seven of them including this one in both 
Chinese and English in mainland China. I wish 
she would write her autobiography. 

In total contrast, the protaganist of this novel 
(one woman, really) has become at the opening 
of the story a schizophrenic wandering the roads 
of America, Kerouac style, hitch-hiking, pro- 
miscuously taking up with anyone who offers a 
ride or shelter. She is in flight from an immigra- 
tion officer who questions her qualifications for 
permanent residency. The structure of the book 
is odd, consisting of four sections each introduc- 
ed by a letter to the immigration officer from 
"Peach," as she now calls herself, describing her 
wanderings and larger "diaries" by her former 
self "Mulberry." (These names are unhappy 
translations of the Chinese "Shang-Ching" and 

"Tao-Hung" said by the author to be both 
beautiful and symbolic in that language). The 
diaries are discontinuous, separated in time and 
place. In the first the girl Mulberry is running 
away from home with another girl in an adoles- 
cent kind of lesbian attachment trying to get to 
Chungking during the Japanese invasion. This is 
a quite enthralling story of the small boat they 
were on being caught for six days between rocks 
in the Yangtze River rapids. Other boats full of 
fleeing people are capsized, people drown, 
Japanese planes fly overhead. There is no hope 
except for rain to raise the water level so the 
boat could float free. In their peril the few 
passengers become intensely involved with each 

The diary episode of the second section takes 
place in Peiping four years later as that city is 
being beseiged by the Nationalists from without 
and disrupted by the Maoists from within. 
Mulberry has fled here to take refuge with an 
old aunt and her stepson. Everything of the old 
order is collapsing about them, most of their 
house is occupied by noisy students, The Forbid- 
den City is vandalized, the poor old lady dies 
and has to be ignominiously buried in a swamp, 
but not before maneuvering Mulberry into mar- 
rying her dubious stepson. Mulberry and her 
husband, seemingly without politics in the mat- 
ter, flee the fallen city hoping to find safety in 
the south. 

Third episode: eight years later they are in 
Taiwan hiding in a cramped attic with their 
small daughter because the husband is sought by 
the police for embezzlement. They are in hiding 
for two wretched years in this place deteriorating 
physically and mentally, the man ill and rather 
contemptible, the child learning to hate, the 
woman beginning to escape with night time 
forays outside— the inception of the "Peach" per- 
sonality. In the fourth episode Mulberry-Peach 
now forty-one is in America and we watch the 
adventurously abandoned personality of Peach 
taking over, eventually declaring Mulberry 
"dead." She is in contact with variously ac- 
climated Chinese who, presumably, represent a 
kind of cultural schizophrenia in the ways they 
suppress their heritage and take on the patterns 
of new lives. For Peach everything in the life of 
Mulberry has been a sequence of destruction: 
"flight, the threat, the trap and alienation" in 
the author's words. And now Peach is on a self- 
destructive course. We are never really privy to 
her thinking and feeling. Her behavior seems 
purely reactive— self-preservation by flight — but, 
one wonders, is this self an adequate carrier of 


the symbolic load of the novel? 

It is possible that the book is meant primarily 
for Chinese readers who could, from their own 
knowledge and experience, fill in background, 
and who could resonate to the snatches of folk 
tales and rumors such as that of a people-eating 
ghost. For me the book could be twice as long, 
with less contrivance and more insight into 
character. What really impelled a sixteen year 
old girl to run away from a fairly comfortable 
home in the China of the 40's? This first flight 
was not evidently an act of desperation and one 
would like to know what it was. Escape from the 
perceived fate of women in China? The 
claustrophobic life in the attic in Taiwan, where 
there was not room to stand up, is surely meant 
as metaphor for the conditions there under the 
Kuomingtang, but the feckless character of the 
husband is the immediate cause of their trouble. 
He would have embezzled anywhere but might 
have survived under the old order in Peiping 
with his family connections. Mulberry's life as 
written is emblematic of a tortured period of 
history but does not much illuminate our 
understanding of it because there is so little con- 
sciousness evident in the characters. No doubt 
they are victims of fate but the mindlessness of 
their fatedness puts the novel at cross purposes 
so it becomes a "Perils of Pauline" adventure 

story on a vast tragically lit stage. Perhaps this is 
unjust. They are, after all examples of the 
millions who are tossed about by events over 
which they have no control and of which they 
have no understanding. I am reminded of old 
soldiers I saw in a veteran's hospital in Taiwan, 
profoundly depressed, completely cut off from 
what was home, not even knowing whether 
their families were alive or dead, and certainly 
innocent of any ideology. 

It may be irrelevant to try to assess the literary 
merit of this novel except to mutter that the 
subject demands something on the scale of War 
and Peace. The language is American in tone, 
complete with sex, slang and occasional epithet 
so the characters are removed from the category 
"exotic" and therefore accessible, ordinary, for 
us. How exotic must the story seem to the 
reader in China with its maps of the western 
states where Peach wanders, its telling at some 
length the Donner Pass story of starvation, 
death, cannibalism, and survival? Perhaps this 
makes us more accessible. Nevertheless this may 
not need to be a great concern — the gap between 
the ancient resilient culture of China and the 
West is much less than that between the West 
and any other Asiatic civilization. After all, we 
are both grounded in humanism however 
deviating our histories have been. 


£ D 1 T O R 'S COLUMN 


Previous accounts of memorable excur- 
sions — climbing the Adirondacks, sailing the 
Greek isles — have been recorded here, with 
special attention to women's perceptions of 
wilderness whether on land or sea. This trip is 
different. Not just because of the ancient lure of 
"mysterious Cathay," the land of silks and 
spices, porcelains and cuisine, wisdom and 
strange customs; but because China has had for 
Western women another dimension, asking us 
how to understand the role of women in a Con- 
fucian culture that relegated them to ser- 
vant/slave status, breaking their very feet in an 
often losing attempt to cripple them 
psychologically as well as physically, while at the 
same time radiant poets like Li Ching Chao and 
the Lady Wen Jie, legendary warrior women like 
Hua Mu Lan, and real revolutionary heroines 
like Qiu Jin filled the consciousness of little girls 
and boys alike as they absorbed the heroic tradi- 
tions of their nation. 

When Susan Dietrich, an experienced China 
tour organizer, and Anthony Wei, professor of 
philosophy born in Beijing, announced their 
Study Tour, I knew I had to go. Their special 
knowledge and experience promised an unusual 
opportunity. The Christmas-card circuit 
recruited friends to join us: Joan Lewis, long 
time staff member of TCW, came along; Carol 
Hunter, whose article on her therapy technique 
will appear in our next issue; and Helene Gutt- 
man, science advisor to TCW, who solicited Dr. 
Chen's article. Joining other professional friends 
and colleagues, off we went. We had entre' to 
many experiences that are not usually available 
to tourists. Xie Jin, film director, whom I had 
met in Chicago before the trip, sent me to Tan 
Fuyun of the Shanghai Federation of Women, 
who led me to the All-China Women's Federa- 
tion, where with the help of Yu Ying, tour guide 
from Hangzhou, we were brought G oan > Helene, 
Ying and I) to the editorial offices of Women of 
China and to an interview with Editor Li 
Zhongxiu. Without the help of many people, 
here gratefully acknowledged, we could not have 
met these leaders of the women's movement. 

There we discussed, through an exceptionally 
able translator who gave simultaneous transla- 
tions, our mutual interests, questions and con- 
cerns. Were we "feminist" in orientation? our 
questioner wondered. We put forward our posi- 
tion. She replied that Women of China also 
preferred not to waste energy on fighting men 
but on finding ways toward mutual achievement 

of shared goals. Madame Li Zhongxiu greeted us 
with warmth, intelligence and generosity. 

There is no space here to cover the twenty-four 
day tour; so let a few impressions telescope what 
I want to say: Confucius is alive and well in 
modern China. His teachings of benevolence, 
filial piety, obedience, the codification of 
behavior, all in a hierarchical social order, have 
survived. The "Five Good Family," for example, 
defines the expected virtues of the family as (1) 
work hard, be diligent; (2) respect the old and 
look after the young; (3) educate the children; 
(4) be good neighbors; and (5) practice family 
planning. Only the last would not have been in- 
cluded in Confucius' commands. We also saw 
some cases where individuals seemed to be plac- 
ed in jobs inappropriately, where it appeared 
they might have been happier and more effective 
in another niche, but the authorities insisted 
that they would work with and continue to 
train them until they learned to do it well. This 
led us to wonder where is the individual in a 
system where the needs of the state are para- 
mount? Is the concept of the "individual" one 
that is equated only with selfishness and greed? 
Or is the state best served by the appropriate 
and free utilization of the talents of all its 
citizens? Here again, we were reminded of the 
Confucian values that always stressed the subor- 
dination of the individual to the state. 

In a brief visit, one cannot penetrate deeply into 
a country which is going through radical 
changes whose consequences no one can foresee, 
including probably the Chinese people 
themselves. In any culture, the persistence of 
traditional attitudes must give pause to those 
who aspire to be agents of change. China has 
still a labor-intensive economy, co-existing with 
high-rise and high-tech modernization— a 
tremendous task. However, there is no doubt left 
in the mind of the traveler as to the vigor, the 
resilience, and the richness of character of the 
women of China. 

Returning home, a newly stimulated desire to 
keep up to date with the unfolding of events in 
China today, led us to an item in the Chinese- 
language newspaper published in New York, 
Centre Daily News (November 26, 1985) on 
"Reforms, Open Door Policy and Women." The 
article described the first symposium sponsored 
by the Society for Women's Studies of 
Guangdong. Fifty- three papers were read at this 
ground-breaking event, leading to conclusions 
that women must overcome a sense of inferiority 
before they can achieve equality, must develop 
self-confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance, must 


act positively to prove that men and women are 
equal in many ways and must have public sup- 
port and the favorable opinion of society in 
order to attain these goals. Thus, women's 
studies has become a new subject in China, "to 
systematically study the roles of women in socie- 


Neve Shalom-Oasis of Peace 

The Creative Woman recently sponsored, in 
cooperation with the Division of Psychology and 
Counseling, the Women's Resource Center, and 
the American Friends of Neve Shalom, a presen- 
tation by Ariela Bailey, a Jew, and Eyas Shbeta, 
an Arab, both of Israel, on their cooperative 
village in Israel where Arabs and Jews have 
chosen to live together in intercultural harmony. 
Independent of the State of Israel, with no 
government sanction or financial support, they 
conduct workshops on conflict resolution and 
have brought more than seven thousand 
teenagers and adults through their program, 
dedicated to the idea that peace can come only 
from a sharing of experiences, needs, pains and 
expectations in a climate of mutual respect and 
acceptance. We were proud to help sponsor a 
program on this extraordinary effort. 

We get mail 

In one day's mail, a remarkable haul: seven 
subscriptions from libraries, including Ewha 
Women's University in Seoul, South Korea; 
Lisse, Holland; an article by Mahhuri Sheth 
from Bombay and Eveline Lang's doctoral 
abstract from Athens, Ohio. We have had an 
international flavor and perspective from the 
start and friends abroad have written to us from 

Eyas Shbeta and Ariela Bailey 

time to time. To witness the growing, if small, 
visibility of TCW in some of the most un- 
suspected quarters is one of the delights of this 



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